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Biomechanical adaptations for burrowing in the incisor enamel microstructure of Geomyidae and Heteromyidae (Rodentia: Geomyoidea)
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2439-5484
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2268-5824
2021 (English)In: Ecology and Evolution, E-ISSN 2045-7758, Vol. 11, p. 9447-9459Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The enamel microstructure of fossil and extant Geomyoidea (Geomyidae, Heteromyidae) lower incisors incorporates three- or two-layered schmelzmusters with uniserial, transverse Hunter-Schreger bands having parallel and perpendicular or exclusively perpendicular oriented interprismatic matrix. Phylogenetically, these schmelzmusters are regarded as moderately (enamel type 2) to highly derived (enamel type 3). Our analysis detected a zone of modified radial enamel close to the enamel–dentine junction. Modified radial enamel shows a strong phylogenetic signal within the clade Geomorpha as it is restricted to fossil and extant Geomyoidea and absent in Heliscomyidae, Florentiamyidae, and Eomyidae. This character dates back to at least the early Oligocene (early Arikareean, 29 Ma), where it occurs in entoptychine gophers. We contend that this specialized incisor enamel architecture developed as a biomechanical adaptation to regular burrowing activities including chisel-tooth digging and a fiber-rich diet and was probably present in the common ancestor of the clade. We regard the occurrence of modified radial enamel in lower incisors of scratch-digging Geomyidae and Heteromyidae as the retention of a plesiomorphic character that is selectively neutral. The shared occurrence of modified radial enamel is a strong, genetically anchored argument for the close phylogenetic relationship of Geomyidae and Heteromyidae on the dental microstructure level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc., 2021. Vol. 11, p. 9447-9459
Keywords [en]
biomechanics, enamel microstructure, Geomorpha, Heliscomyidae, North America, rodent incisors
National Category
Zoology Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Diversity of life
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-4256DOI: 10.1002/ece3.7765OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-4256DiVA, id: diva2:1592161
Funder
German Research Foundation (DFG), KA 1556/2-1German Research Foundation (DFG), KA 1556/2-2Available from: 2021-09-08 Created: 2021-09-08 Last updated: 2024-01-17Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttps://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7765

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Kalthoff, Daniela C.Mörs, Thomas
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