The constrained model of masticatory function enables specific predictions of bite force potentials in skulls of differing craniodental configurations. In this study, empirical support for the constrained model is provided using maximum voluntary bite force data along Region I and II of the jaws of gray short-tailed opossums Monodelphis domestica. Then, growth series of M. domestica are used to assess how bite force potential changes with growth by evaluating craniodental changes using longitudinal sets of dorsoventral radiographs and by assessing maximal bite force potential at the Region I-II boundary of the jaw in juveniles (aged 70-80 days) and adults. Our findings show that, while juveniles and adults alike enclose at least three molariform teeth within Region II (the area of highest bite force potential along the jaw), age-dependent elongation of the masticatory muscle resultant lever arm and narrowing of the palate relative to jaw length especially enhance the mechanical advantage of the adductor muscle resultant in adults. While maximal bite forces at the Region I-II boundary are absolutely greater in adults, these bite forces scale isometrically with body mass, which suggests that mass-specific forces exerted by jaw adductor muscles of larger (adult) opossums are disproportionately smaller than those exerted by smaller (juvenile) opossums.
- Bite force
- Gray short-tailed opossum
- Monodelphis domestica
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)