A proposed unified nomenclature for the enamelled components of the molar teeth of the Cricetidae (Rodentia)



The primitive topography of the enamelled surface of molar teeth of the Cricetidae is described as expressed in the fossil Cricetodontinae. Morphological variations in the molar structure of different subgroups among the Cricetidae are interpreted as derivations from this cricetodontine pattern. Eleven available naming systems for such components are surveyed, and a new unifying nomenclature is proposed, based on the Cope-Osborn cusp homologies for mammals. Names for enamel cusps, cuspules, styles, lophs, folds and islands are given, in an attempt to include in an overall general nomenclature the advantages of the most valuable, already available, nomenclatorial systems. The system purports to apply to all modifications of the cricetid crown molar pattern, and it claims to fulfil the need for a uniform nomenclature.