Walk the line: 600000 years of molar evolution constrained by allometry in the fossil rodent Mimomys savini

Cyril Firmat, Iván Lozano-Fernández, Jordi Agustí, Geir H. Bolstad, Gloria Cuenca-Bescós, Thomas F. Hansen, Christophe Pélabon


The allometric-constraint hypothesis states that evolutionary divergence of morphological traits is restricted by integrated growth regulation. In this study, we test this hypothesis on a time-calibrated and well-documented palaeontological sequence of dental measurements on the Pleistocene arvicoline rodent species Mimomys savini from the Iberian Peninsula. Based on 507 specimens representing nine populations regularly spaced over 600 000 years, we compare static (within-population) and evolutionary (among-population) allometric slopes between the width and the length of the first lower molar. We find that the static allometric slope remains evolutionary stable and predicts the evolutionary allometry quite well. These results support the hypothesis that the macroevolutionary divergence of molar traits is constrained by static allometric relationships.


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