Mammalian Masticatory Muscles: Homology, Nomenclature, and Diversification
Druzinsky, Robert E.
Doherty, Alison H.
De Vree, Frits L.
PublisherOxford University Press
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There is a deep and rich literature of comparative studies of jaw muscles in mammals but no recent analyses employ modern phylogenetic techniques to better understand evolutionary changes that have occurred in these muscles. In order to fully develop and utilize the Feeding Experiments End-user Database (FEED), we are constructing a comprehensive ontology of mammalian jaw muscles. This process has led to a careful consideration of nomenclature and homologies of the muscles and their constituent parts. Precise determinations of muscle attachments have shown that muscles with similar names are not necessarily homologous. Using new anatomical descriptions derived from the literature, we defined character states for the jaw muscles in diverse mammalian species. We then mapped those characters onto a recent phylogeny of mammals with the aid of the Mesquite software package. Our data further elucidate how muscle groups associated with the feeding apparatus differ and have become highly specialized in certain mammalian orders, such as Rodentia, while remaining conserved in other orders. We believe that careful naming of muscles and statistical analyses of their distributions among mammals, in association with the FEED database, will lead to new, significant insights into the functional, structural, and evolutionary morphology of the jaw muscles.