Mammalian Biology

, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 191–197 | Cite as

Geometric morphometrics of the mandible in the Iberian desman, Galemys pyrenaicus (Mammalia: Soricomorpha): Is there a significant variation in form during post-weaning life?

  • Jacint VenturaEmail author
  • María José López-Fuster
Original Investigation


Geometric morphometrics was applied on the mandible of the Iberian desman, Galemys pyrenaicus, to determine for the first time possible sexual and post-weaning shape variation of this structure in a talpid species. Analyses were complemented by evaluating the effect of sex and age on size. The sample consisted of collection specimens from locations in the Cantabrian Mountains (northern Spain). Desmans were grouped into four relative age classes according to tooth wear. The shape of the internal side of the mandible was represented by 15 two-dimensional landmarks. Once young desmans leave the nest there is no significant variation in the form (size and shape) of the mandible. Thus, possible osseous changes and tooth abrasion derived from ageing do not produce obvious variation in mandible form. Mandible shape was significantly correlated with mandible size, resulting in a range of shapes that varies from a slender to a robust morphology. This variation was independent of geographic factors. Since the effect of non-heritable environmental influences on mandible size and shape was negligible, it can be considered that the mandible form of post-weaned desmans is the direct product of interactions between different developmental processes.


Galemys pyrenaicus Geometric morphometrics Mandible Size Shape 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament de Biologia Animal, de Biologia Vegetal, i d’Ecologia, Facultat de BiociènciesUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Departament de Biologia Animal, Facultat de BiologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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