Credit: Mandy Stockmann /
Read aloud Optimal gnawing and chewing? According to British researchers, this concept is behind the success of rodents from the group of rats and mice, the so-called Myomorpha. Your dentition is an absolute top model compared to other rodents: they nibble better than gnawing specialized species like the squirrel and at the same time they chew more effectively than chewing specialists like the guinea pig. Researchers led by Nathan Jeffery of the University of Liverpool have developed and compared computer models of the rat, squirrel and guinea pig chewing gland. It has been known that many species of Myomorpha have an all-round dentition, which, in contrast to specialists, opens up a variety of different food sources. How powerful this concept really is, the researchers wanted to find out through their investigations. "We actually expected that the rat and mouse chewing system would be more versatile, but less effective in detail? So eat a little worse and chew a little less effectively, says Jeffery. "But the opposite was the case?

Equipped with a top model

The comparisons of the three species showed that when a squirrel gnaws, its biomedical processes are more favorable than with a gnawing guinea pig. But this grass eater chews more ergonomically with his molars than the tree dweller with preference for hard nuts. But the rat puts both in the shade, showed the computer models: An optimized jaw musculature, skull shape and perfect motion sequences make the masticatory apparatus of the rat in both functions the winner. "That's like when a multi-fighter beats two sprint specialists on the short haul, " says Jeffery.

As the evolutionary evolutionary lines of rodents separated millions of years ago, the ancestors of squirrels and guinea pigs have specialized in their diet, explain the researchers. In the evolutionary history of rodents from the rat and mouse group, evolution has fiddled with an all-round dentition? and finally the absolute winner of the test produced. Probably that was an important aspect of the success of this rodent suborder, the scientists say: The Myomorpha, with more than 1, 600 species, represent more than a quarter of all mammalian species today. display

Nathan Jeffery (University of Liverpool) et al .: PLoS ONE, doi: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0036299 © Martin Vieweg


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