Add like
Add dislike
Add to saved papers

Growing sabers: Mandibular shape and biomechanical performance trajectories during the ontogeny of Smilodon fatalis.

The evolution of organisms can be studied through the lens of developmental systems, as the timing of development of morphological features is an important aspect to consider when studying a phenotype. Such data can be challenging to obtain in fossil amniotes owing to the scarcity of their fossil record. However, the numerous remains of Rancho La Brea allow a detailed study of the postnatal changes in an extinct sabertoothed felid: Smilodon fatalis. Despite numerous previous studies on the ontogeny of Smilodon, an important question remained open: how did the cubs of Smilodon acquire and process food? By applying 3D geometric morphometrics and finite element analyses to 49 mandibles at various developmental stages (22 of S. fatalis, 23 of Panthera leo, and 4 of early diverging felids), we assess the changes in mandibular shape and performance during growth. Both lions and sabertooths exhibit a shift in mandibular shape, aligning with eruption of the lower carnassial. This marks the end of weaning in lions and suggests a prolonged weaning period in S. fatalis owing to its delayed eruption sequence. We also highlight distinct ontogenetic trajectories, with S. fatalis undergoing more postnatal mandibular shape changes. Finally, although S. fatalis appears more efficient than P. leo at performing an anchor bite, this efficiency is acquired through ontogeny and at a quite late age. The delayed shape change compared with P. leo and the low biting efficiency during the growth in Smilodon could indicate an extended duration of the parental care compared with P. leo.

Full text links

We have located links that may give you full text access.
Can't access the paper?
Try logging in through your university/institutional subscription. For a smoother one-click institutional access experience, please use our mobile app.

Related Resources

For the best experience, use the Read mobile app

Mobile app image

Get seemless 1-tap access through your institution/university

For the best experience, use the Read mobile app

All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2024 by WebMD LLC.
This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.

By using this service, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.

Your Privacy Choices Toggle icon

You can now claim free CME credits for this literature searchClaim now

Get seemless 1-tap access through your institution/university

For the best experience, use the Read mobile app