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Dryad

Dataset: Evolution of gliding in squirrel-related rodents (Mammalia: Sciuromorpha) did not induce a new optimum on the cortical thickness of the scapular glenoid fossa

Cite this dataset

Berghäuser, Timo; Nyakatura, John; Wölfer, Jan (2023). Dataset: Evolution of gliding in squirrel-related rodents (Mammalia: Sciuromorpha) did not induce a new optimum on the cortical thickness of the scapular glenoid fossa [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.zkh1893dh

Abstract

Many of the squirrel-related rodents (i.e., Sciuromorpha) are tree-dwelling species known to be very agile climbers. This taxon also includes the most diverse clade of gliding (aerial) mammals that likely descended from a non-gliding arboreal ancestor and evolved a patagium (i.e., a gliding membrane) to increase gliding performance. Glides can cover distances of up to 150 m and landing is typically accomplished by stalling the patagium to reduce impact velocity. It remains unclear if this behavior suffices to keep stresses on the locomotor apparatus similar to those experienced by their arboreal relatives or whether gliding behavior increases landing forces and stresses. The sparsely available support reaction force data are ambiguous, but bone microstructure is highly adaptable to changes in loading regime and likely provides insights into this question. Using µCT scans, we compared the cortical thickness of the glenoid fossa of the shoulder joint between arboreal and aerial Sciuromorpha using evolutionary model comparison, while also accounting for regional differences of the glenoid fossa. We did not find any differences between these locomotor behaviors, irrespective of the region. These findings agree with previous analyses of the microstructure of the femur in Sciuromorpha. We discuss different aspects that could explain the similarity in cortical thickness. According to our analysis of glenoid cortical thickness the loading regime appears not to have changed after the evolution of gliding locomotion, likely due to adjustments in landing performance.

Methods

CT scans, measured with Fiji.

Usage notes

Data can be accessed using R, Fiji.