Ecological and evolutionary factors in dental morphological diversification among modern human populations from southern South America
BERNAL V.; PEREZ S.I.; GONZALEZ P.; FELIZOLA DINIZ-FILHO JA
Proceedings of Royal Society B. Biological Sciences
Royal society Publishing
Año: 2010 vol. 277 p. 1107 - 1107
The knowledge of processes involved in morphological variation requires the integrated analysis of evolutionary and ecological factors. Here, we investigate the factors responsible for dental variation among human populations from southern South America. The aim of this work is to test the correspondence of dental size and shape variation with geographical, molecular (i.e. mtDNA) and ecological (i.e. climate, diet and food preparation) variables employing comparative phylogenetic methods, which have not previously been extensively applied at a within-species level. The results of the Procrustes analysis show a significant association of shape variables with molecular distance and geography, whereas dental size is not associated with molecular or geographical distances among groups. Phylogenetic generalized leastsquares analysis, which takes into account the evolutionary autocorrelation among populations, shows a significant relationship between dental size variation and diet, while temperature and pottery do not correspond with dental size or shape. Specifically, groups with diets rich in carbohydrates, as well as the maritime hunter-gatherers, have the smallest teeth. In summary, our results support ecological factors as the dominant factor on dental size diversification in this region, while evolutionary relationships account for variation in dental shape.