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Title: Functional morphology of the orbital region of eutherian mammals
Author: Cox, P. G.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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After an initial chapter introducing the orbital region and surveying the literature, Chapter Two addresses the scope of the variation in orbital construction with a comprehensive description of the orbits of placental mammals, order by order. This information is used to score 23 morphological characters from the orbital region in representatives from as many eutherian families as possible. These character states are then plotted on to existing phylogenies of the Eutheria in order to study the evolution of orbital characters throughout the group. This elucidates which characters are more plastic than others, which orbital features are characteristic of particular placental groups, and which species are anomalous within their family or order with regard to the orbit. Chapter Three focuses on the muscles of mastication and the variation in their relative proportions throughout the Eutheria. The nature of the stresses and strains generated by these muscles across the skull, and particularly in the orbital region, is considered using dissection and the split-line technique. Drawing on this information, Chapter Four seeks to characterise the variation in orbital structure in a quantitative fashion. The surface areas of orbital bones along with various cranial dimensions in a wide sample of eutherians are measured using a 3-D digitiser. These data are then subjected to a number of statistical techniques such as principal components analysis, analysis of variance and cluster analysis, in order to assess whether orbital structure can be correlated with arrangement of the jaw closing musculature. Finally, all the evidence is drawn together to see if the construction of the orbit can be used as a predictor of masticatory musculature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available