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Back to the wild: does feralization impact the mandible of non-commensal house mice (Mus musculus domesticus)?

Abstract : If domestication has been well studied lately with the recognition of a so-called 'domestication syndrome', the opposite process, feralization, has deserved much less interest. The commensal Western European house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus) lives in close contact to humans, a situation setting it between wild and domesticated animals. However, the house mouse also occurs in non-anthropogenic environments, forming feral populations and hence providing the opportunity to document how feralization may impact its morphology. In this study, three of those 'feral' populations from Orkney, Kerguelen Archipelago and Southern France are compared to Western European commensal populations. The shape and biomechanical properties of the mouse jaws were analysed to assess the impacts of 'feralization' on an organ under major environmental pressures through its feeding function. Mandible shape varied mostly with climate and phylogeny, and feral populations only slightly diverged from their geographically close relatives. In contrast, feral mice shared a biomechanical signature corresponding to a decrease in the superficial masseter/molar mechanical advantage suggesting less performance at molar biting. This is interpreted as a parallel response to a relaxation of environmental pressure, possibly due to diet shift in feral habitats.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02336333
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Submitted on : Saturday, November 21, 2020 - 9:43:44 AM
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Louise Souquet, Pascale Chevret, Guila Ganem, Jean-Christophe Auffray, Ronan Ledevin, et al.. Back to the wild: does feralization impact the mandible of non-commensal house mice (Mus musculus domesticus)?. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Linnean Society of London, 2019, 126 (3), pp.471-486. ⟨10.1093/biolinnean/bly218⟩. ⟨hal-02336333⟩

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