Postnatal development and evolution of the craniofacial complex in rodents
Started in october 2018
Funding: doctoral grant
The skull is, architecturally and functionally, a strongly integrated and complex structure because of its numerous constituent bones and its involvement in many essential tasks. At the same time and somehow paradoxically, this unit is highly evolvable and presents a high diversity of shapes. Epigenetic interactions in response to mechanical stimulations will compensate and coordinate the growth of the different organs constituting the head, in order to acquire and/or to maintain certain functions. These interactions will allow the normal development of the skeletal elements by controlling the spatialisation and the intensity of the bone remodelling. In spite of its central role, the importance of these interactions in the expression of inter‐specific differences and at a large time‐scale in the dynamics of clades remains poorly understood. The project of the PhD thesis aims I) at studying the onset of the craniofacial disparity and in particular mandibular disparity in rodents during the ontogeny, and II) at estimating the importance of the epigenetic processes during this post‐natal growth. This project will use the tools and methods of 3D geometric morphometrics to analyse the craniofacial shape and its variations during growth in rodents. The variations in shape within ontogenetic series and the young and grown‐up disparities will be contrasted to the dental diversity and the mastication mode as well as to the data obtained on the bone remodelling during the acquisition of mastication.