Updated September 6, 2018
Science publications are reporting on research by M. Aleksander Wysocki, a doctoral student in computational cell biology, anatomy and pathology, and Jack Tseng, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences, that found that the jaw joint bone, the center around which chewing activity literally revolves, appears to have evolved based more on an animal’s size than what it eats. “Still, given how critical the temporomandibular joint is in capturing prey and eating it, these results are very striking,” said Wysocki, first author on the paper originally published in PLoS ONE. “For over a century, it has been assumed that skull shape is closely related to what an animal eats. And now we have found that jaw joint bone structure is related to carnivoran body size, not what the animal is eating.” Tseng is co-author of the piece.