Skip to main content

Functional constraints channel mandible shape ontogenies in rodents

Cite this dataset

Dubied, Morgane; Montuire, Sophie; Navarro, Nicolas (2022). Functional constraints channel mandible shape ontogenies in rodents [Dataset]. Dryad.


In mammals, postnatal growth plays an essential role in the acquisition of the adult shape. During this period, the mandible undergoes many changing functional constraints, leading to spatialization of bone formation and remodelling to accommodate various dietary and behavioural changes. The interactions between the bone, muscles and teeth drive this developmental plasticity, which, in turn, could lead to convergences in the developmental processes constraining the directionality of ontogenies, their evolution and thus the adult shape variation. To test the importance of the interactions between tissues in shaping the ontogenetic trajectories, we compared the mandible shape at five postnatal stages on three rodents: the house mouse, the Mongolian gerbil and the golden hamster, using geometric morphometrics. After an early shape differentiation, either by longer gestation and allometric scaling in gerbils or early divergence of postnatal ontogeny in hamsters in comparison to the mouse, the ontogenetic trajectories appear more similar around weaning. The changes in muscle load associated to new food processing and new behaviours at weaning seem to impose similar physical constraints on the mandible driving the convergences of the ontogeny at that stage despite an early anatomical differentiation. Nonetheless, mice present a rather different timing compared to gerbils or hamsters.


Coordinates have been slided using the R package Morpho and a full generalized Procrsutes analysis was performed.


École Pratique des Hautes Études, Award: AP EPHE 2019