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Evolutionary and developmental dynamics of the dentition in Muroidea and Dipodoidea (Rodentia, Mammalia)

Authors

  • Helder Gomes Rodrigues,

    Corresponding author
    1. Team “Evo-Devo of Vertebrate Dentition,” Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, Université de Lyon, UMR 5242 CNRS INRA UCBL ENS, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon; 46 Allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
    2. Laboratoire de Paléontologie, Institut des Sciences de l'Évolution, UMR-CNRS 5554, cc064, Université Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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  • Cyril Charles,

    1. Team “Evo-Devo of Vertebrate Dentition,” Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, Université de Lyon, UMR 5242 CNRS INRA UCBL ENS, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon; 46 Allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
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  • Laurent Marivaux,

    1. Laboratoire de Paléontologie, Institut des Sciences de l'Évolution, UMR-CNRS 5554, cc064, Université Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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  • Monique Vianey-Liaud,

    1. Laboratoire de Paléontologie, Institut des Sciences de l'Évolution, UMR-CNRS 5554, cc064, Université Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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  • Laurent Viriot

    1. Team “Evo-Devo of Vertebrate Dentition,” Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, Université de Lyon, UMR 5242 CNRS INRA UCBL ENS, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon; 46 Allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
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*Author for correspondence (email: helder.gomes.rodrigues@ens-lyon.fr)

Abstract

SUMMARY When it comes to mouse evo-devo, the fourth premolar–first molar (P4–M1) dental complex becomes a source of longstanding controversies among paleontologists and biologists. Muroidea possess only molar teeth but with additional mesial cusps on their M1. Developmental studies tend to demonstrate that the formation of such mesial cusps could result from the integration of a P4 germ into M1 during odontogenesis. Conversely, most Dipodoidea conserve their fourth upper premolars and those that lost these teeth can also bear additional mesial cusps on their first upper molars. The aim of this study is to assess this developmental model in both Muroidea and Dipodoidea by documenting the morphological evolution of the P4–M1 complex across 50 Ma. Fourteen extinct and extant species, including abnormal and mutant specimens were investigated. We found that, even if their dental evolutionary pathways strongly differ, Dipodoidea and Muroidea retain common developmental characteristics because some of them can present similar dental morphological trends. It also appears that the acquisition of a mesial cusp on M1 is independent from the loss of P4 in both superfamilies. Actually, the progressive decrease of the inhibitory effect of P4, consequent to its regression, could allow the M1 to lengthen and mesial cusps to grow in Muroidea. Apart from these developmental explanations, patternings of the mesial part of first molars are also deeply constrained by morpho-functional requirements. As there is no obvious evidence of such mechanisms in Dipodoidea given their more variable dental morphologies, further developmental investigations are needed.

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