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Mastozoología neotropical

versión impresa ISSN 0327-9383versión On-line ISSN 1666-0536


SEGURA, Valentina  y  FLORES, David. Qualitative approach and function in the cranial ontogeny of Puma concolor (Felidae). Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2009, vol.16, n.1, pp.169-182. ISSN 0327-9383.

The ontogenetic variation in felids was studied mainly from the perspective of age estimation based on the sequence of tooth replacement and wear. However, almost no species has been still analyzed in a morpho-functional frame, relating changes on diet and behavior. In this work, we analyzed the ontogenetic variation of the skull of Puma concolor, both in its morphological structures, as well as in its suture types and stage of fusion, in order to associate changes of shape with changes of habits that occur during the growth. Our sample includes specimens younger than 10 days, to specimens of approximately 10 years old. Although most of the structures present in adults are already observed in terminal young stages, almost all changes point to the functional strengthening of the skull, via the increased area for the origin and insertion of temporal, masseteric, and pterygoid musculature, as well as the enlargement of cervical muscles. Most of the sutural changes occur before reaching the permanent dentition, and are associated to the improvement of the resistance to mechanical stress, being the commonest change the acquisition of serrated suture and its final fusion. The comparison of the patterns observed in P. concolor with related species of lesser body size (e.g., P. yagouaroundi) are pending, since some differences can be associated to different growth pattern, product of different mechanical demands related to the size of preys.

Palabras clave : Anatomy; Carnivora; Development.

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