An Analysis of Masticatory Form and Function in Three Mustelids (Martes americana, Lutra canadensis, Enhydra lutris)


MA Riley


Analysis of the masticatory apparatus of three mustelids (Martes, Lutra, En-hydra) is presented. Descriptions are provided for dentition, cranial morphology, primary jaw musculature, and jaw mechanics. The most striking differences noted among the three genera are in the dentition, with the cheek teeth showing extreme modification toward grinding in the species examined. The cranium, jaw muscles, and jaw mechanics are more conservative. These results lend support to the hypothesis that the greatest variation in the components of the mammalian jaw apparatus is contributed by the shape of the teeth (Hiiemae,1 978).

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