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characterize many carnivorous non-mammalian synapsids24 molariform teeth at the back of the dentition of Repenomamus are

Summary: characterize many carnivorous non-mammalian synapsids24
. The
molariform teeth at the back of the dentition of Repenomamus are
small with blunt crowns; they probably played a minor role in food
processing. Although mammals are considered definitive chewers
within amniotes25
, the dental morphology and large pieces of prey
in the stomach of Repenomamus suggest that chewing as a derived
feature in mammals was probably not present in Repenomamus.
It is not easy to assess whether Repenomamus was a predator or
scavenger. Scavengers are relatively rare among mammals--among
extant carnivorous mammals, only two species of hyenas are
habitual scavengers12,26
. Compared to their hunting cousins, these
hyenas have smaller second upper incisors and less jaw muscle
leverage, which probably reflect their inability to capture and handle
live prey. In contrast, the enlarged incisors and strong jaw muscles of
Repenomamus are well shaped for catching prey, favouring it as a
predator rather than a scavenger.
For fossil mammals, body size is one of the most important


Source: Azevedo, Ricardo - Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology