Conservative neural symmetry of the caprine mandible.
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Fifteen dry dentate and complete mandible samples from the White Rasquera goat breed were studied for symmetry. Thirty-one landmarks were digitally located on the images of the lateral and medial aspects of each hemimandible. Distances between these landmarks allowed the evaluation of the whole hemimandible
and also the neural mandible. In the studied samples, the mandible was rather symmetrical, especially in the medial neural part, and in general, there was no side dominance. Only the diastema differed significantly between the sides, and this was related to the rostral part (incisive arch). The incisive region was the least symmetrical region of the caprine mandible, indicating a modular structure more conservative for the neural part. If unsigned asymmetry is interpreted as a measure of developmental stability, then the studied breed presented a marked ability to develop in good fitness despite the harsh environment. The measurements presented here can also be used as a reference for researchers designing experimental studies, especially on mandibular catch-up growth, and as an aid for zooarchaeologists comparing results from dead animals with those from living goat populations.