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UMass Amherst biologists use GPS to 'map' bats teeth to explore evolutionary adaptations to diet
Date:2/18/2011

er at breaking down prey, but how much bats chewed their prey was also important," Santana and colleagues say.

Like any specialized tool, teeth are designed to match the task, in this case breaking down food. Tooth shapes are very specialized to meet specific functions, Santana explains. "However, little is known about how the structure of teeth in bats from this family evolved in relation to the types of food they eat. Across mammals, there's also little information about how differences in tooth structure among species relate to how well they perform during feeding."

"Our study highlights the functional significance of tooth structure and chewing behavior in breaking down natural prey and provides the basis for future studies relating 3D tooth structure to the animals' ability to break down food, how species divide up food resources and how those divisions evolve," they point out. This work provides a major step forward in understanding mammalian feeding systems.


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Contact: Janet Lathrop
jlathrop@admin.umass.edu
413-545-0444
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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