Temporal and spatial variation of dental pattern in the voles, Microtus arvalis, of the Orkney Islands



A sample of first lower molars of Microtus arvalis of Neolithic age from the Orkney island of Westray was compared with respect to size and shape with other Neolithic and Recent samples of the species. The results show (1) a decline in size since the Neolithic on Westray (as on Orkney Mainland) and (2) divergence in shape between populations from Westray and Orkney Mainland since the Neolithic. Comparisons were also made with continental samples, and explanations of the origin and large size of the Orkney voles are reviewed.