Why the long teeth? Morphometric analysis suggests different selective pressures on functional occlusal traits in Plio-Pleistocene African suids

Deming Yang, Asli Pisano, Joan Kolasa, Tea Jashashvili, Job Kibii, Ana Gomez Cano, Laurent Viriot, Frederick Grine & Antoine Souron
Neogene and Pleistocene African suids displayed convergent evolutionary trends in the third molar (M3) morphology, with increasingly elongated and higher crowns through time. While these features can prevent premature loss of masticatory functionality and potentially increase long-term reproductive success, changes in dental occlusal traits such as enamel complexity and thickness can also improve chewing efficiency and increase short-term energetic return. While both long-term and short-term benefits can contribute to the thriving of a lineage, the...
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