University of Oulu

Kangas, VM., Rytkönen, S., Kvist, L. et al. J Mammal Evol (2017) 24: 233.

Geographic cline in the shape of the moose mandible : indications of an adaptive trend

Saved in:
Author: Kangas, Veli-Matti1; Rytkönen, Seppo2; Kvist, Laura2;
Organizations: 1Department of Genetics & Physiology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Department of Ecology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
3Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Yliopistokatu 6, FI-80100 Joensuu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-06-15


Intra-specific geographic variation is probably one of the most common patterns studied in ungulate morphology. However, the shape of the mandible, a crucial feature with regard to feeding, has been greatly understudied in this context. Here, we utilized a museum collection of moose (Alces alces) mandibles to investigate whether we could detect significant variation in this species, and test for the existence of geographic patterns and associations with population genetic structure. We applied a landmark-based geometric morphometrics approach, analyzing shape data with principal component analysis and linear mixed models. A significant geographic shift in the shape of the moose mandible was revealed. The main pattern was similar in both sexes; however, there was a consistent difference in shape between males and females over the latitudinal scale. The main changes included an enlargement in the attachment surfaces of the muscles controlling biting and mastication, suggesting more effective mastication towards the north, plausibly as an adaptive response to a harder and tougher wintertime diet. Additionally, more subtle, yet statistically significant age-related shape variation was discovered. Interestingly, no or only a weak association between the morphometric variation and the genetic population structure was detected with neutral molecular markers.

see all

Series: Journal of mammalian evolution
ISSN: 1064-7554
ISSN-E: 1573-7055
ISSN-L: 1064-7554
Volume: 24
Pages: 233 - 241
DOI: 10.1007/s10914-016-9344-y
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: This work was supported by the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu and the Finnish Game Management Foundation by providing funds for V-MK and Oulun luonnonystävät for V-MK and TK.
Copyright information: © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.