Jaw-some wombats may be great survivors

ScienceDaily | 11/5/2019 | Staff
blackyblacky (Posted by) Level 3
An international study, co-led by The University of Queensland's Dr Vera Weisbecker, has revealed that wombat jaws appear to change in relation to their diets.

"The survival of wombats depends on their ability to chew large amounts of tough plants such as grasses, roots and even bark," Dr Weisbecker said.

Climate - Change - Drought - Plants - Adaptations

"Climate change and drought are thought to make these plants even tougher, which might require further short-term adaptations of the skull.

"Scientists had long suspected that native Australian marsupial mammals were limited in being able to adapt their skull in this way.

News - Research - Idea

"But in good news, our research has contradicted this idea."

The team used a technique known as geometric morphometrics -- the study of how shapes vary -- to characterise skull shape variation within three different species of wombat, with each species having a slightly different diet.

Data - Tomography - CT - Scanning - Computation

The data were collected with computed tomography -- known to most as CT scanning -- and analysed with new computation techniques developed by UQ's Dr Thomas Guillerme.

Dr Olga Panagiotopoulou, who co-led the research project from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, said the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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