Contemporary and sub-fossil house mice (Mus musculus Linnaeus, 1758) (Rodentia: Muridae) from Iran

Document Type : Research articles


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 UMR 7209 CNRS/ MNHN Laboratoire d’archéozoologie et d’achéobotanique, Paris, Franc


The house mouse (Mus musculus) is a polytypic species, with its geographic distribution largely the result of human migrations during the Late Glacial and Holocene. This study used geometric morphometry (GM) on upper and lower molars to discriminate among the three subspecies of the house mouse present in Iran. Moreover cranial remains of this species were uncovered on several archaeological sites of the Iranian Plateau. The GM results were applied to sub-fossil lower molars from Isfahan (Qaleh Bozi), Kordestan (Kani Mikaiil), Qazvin (Zagheh), and Jiroft (Konar Sandal). The present-day Iranian populations that have been previously separated into three subspecies (M. musculus musculus, M. musculus domesticus, and pro-castaneus type) by molecular studies can also be distinguished by dental geometric morphometrics. These ubspecies are distinguished by variation in the shape of the first and second upper molar (M1/, M2/) and the first lower molar (M/1). Comparison of these results to the Late Glacial/Early Holocene material from the above mentioned fossil bearing localities shows marked similarity with the extant house mouse of the southeastern Iranian Plateau, the pro-castaneus type.