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Patterns of Variation and Correlation in the Dentition of the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes

Philip D. Gingerich and Dale A. Winkler
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 60, No. 4 (Nov., 1979), pp. 691-704
DOI: 10.2307/1380186
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1380186
Page Count: 14
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Patterns of Variation and Correlation in the Dentition of the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes
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Abstract

The teeth in 51 individuals of the red fox, Vulpes vulpes, from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan were measured to quantify dental variation and correlation in this species. Upper and lower first molars tend to be the least variable in the toothrow; the canines, incisors, and posteriormost molars tend to be more variable. Variability of the cheek teeth is uncorrelated with sequence of tooth eruption, but rather appears to be inversely related to occlusal complexity, with teeth in the carnassial region being the least variable. Correlations and partial correlations of tooth length were calculated for all pairs of upper and lower teeth. Surprisingly, the tooth pairs that are most highly correlated are in the premolar series where no tooth-to-tooth occlusion is possible. Reduced variability near occluding carnassials in each toothrow is presumably related to the functional importance of precise occlusion, but this is not reflected in the pattern of correlations and partial correlations.

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