The Evolution of Occlusal Enamel Complexity in Middle Miocene to Recent Equids (Mammalia: Perissodactyla) of North America
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Four groups of equids, "Anchitheriinae," Merychippine-grade Equinae, Hipparionini, and Equini, coexisted in the middle Miocene, and only the Equini remains after 16 million years of evolution and extinction. Each group is distinct in its occlusal enamel pattern. These patterns have been compared qualitatively but rarely quantitatively. The processes controlling the evolution of these occlusal patterns have not been thoroughly investigated with respect to phylogeny, tooth position, and climate through geologic time. I investigated two methods of quantitative analysis, Occlusal Enamel Index for shape and fractal dimensionality for complexity. I used analyses of variance and an analysis of co-variance to test hypotheses of process. Results suggest that enamel shape was controlled by phylogeny, tooth position, and climate. The lower taxonomic levels are shown to have a strong effect on complexity, suggesting behavior is driving complexity rather than overarching phylogenetic constraint.