Rampant tooth loss across 200 million years of frog evolution
Daniel J Paluh,
Catherine M Early,
Maggie M. Hantak,
Gregory F.M. Jongsma,
Rachel M Keeffe,
Fernanda Magalhães Silva,
Stuart V Nielsen,
María Camila Vallejo-Pareja,
Edward L Stanley,
David C Blackburn
Posted 06 Feb 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.04.429809
Posted 06 Feb 2021
Teeth have been broadly maintained across most clades of vertebrates but have been lost completely at least once in actinopterygian fishes and several times in amniotes. Using phenotypic data collected from over 500 genera via micro-computed tomography, we provide the first rigorous assessment of the evolutionary history of dentition across all major lineages of amphibians. We demonstrate that dentition is invariably present in caecilians and salamanders, but teeth have been lost completely more than 20 times in frogs, a much higher occurrence of edentulism than in any other vertebrate group. The repeated loss of teeth in anurans is associated with a specialized diet of small invertebrate prey as well as shortening of the lower jaw, but it is not correlated with a reduction in body size. Frogs provide an unparalleled opportunity for investigating the molecular and developmental mechanisms of convergent tooth loss on a large phylogenetic scale.
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