Abstract

Ungulates generally have large masseter and pterygoid muscles and a necessarily large angular process provides attachment surface on the mandible. The temporalis muscle tends to be small. It has been suggested that this is an adaptation for enhanced control of the lower jaw and reduction of forces at the jaw joint. I suggest an additional reason: because of the geometry of the jaw, the length of that segment of the lower jaw that spans the distance from the jaw joint to the most posterior tooth is significantly reduced when the masseler and pterygoid are the dominant muscles; this region is necessarily much longer when the temporalis is large.

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