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Patterns of morphological evolution in the mandible of the house mouse Mus musculus (Rodentia: Muridae)

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The worldwide distributed house mouse, Mus musculus, is subdivided into at least three lineages, Mus musculus musculus, Mus musculus domesticus, and Mus musculus castaneus. The subspecies occur parapatrically in a region considered to be the cradle of the species in Southern Asia (‘central region’), as well as in the rest of the world (‘peripheral region’). The morphological evolution of this species in a phylogeographical context is studied using a landmark‐based approach on mandible morphology of different populations of the three lineages. The morphological variation increases from central to peripheral regions at the population and subspecific levels, confirming a centrifugal sub‐speciation within this species. Furthermore, the outgroup comparison with sister species suggests that M. musculus musculus and populations of all subspecies inhabiting the Iranian plateau have retained a more ancestral mandible morphology, suggesting that this region may represent one of the relevant places of the origin of the species. Mus musculus castaneus, both from central and peripheral regions, is morphologically the most variable and divergent subspecies. Finally, the results obtained in the present study suggest that the independent evolution to commensalism in the three lineages is not accompanied by a convergence detectable on jaw morphology. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 105, 635–647.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier, Cc 064, Université de Montpellier2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France 2: Rodentology Research Department, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, 91775-1436, Mashhad, Iran 3: Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University G.C., Velenjak, Tehran, Iran 4: Institute of Zoology and Department of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC 10617

Publication date: 01 March 2012

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