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Table of Contents
Vol. 70, No. 2, 1999
Issue release date: March – April
Section title: Reviewed Article
Folia Primatol 1999;70:65–78
(DOI:10.1159/000021678)

Anthropoid Origins and the Modern Symphysis

Ravosa M.J.
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Northwestern University Medical School, and Department of Zoology, Division of Mammals, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Ill., USA

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Reviewed Article

Published online: March 18, 1999
Issue release date: March – April

Number of Print Pages: 14
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0015-5713 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9980 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/FPR

Abstract

To highlight adaptive transformations in craniomandibular form during anthropoid origins, symphyseal character states and underlying masticatory loading regimes were investigated vis-à-vis shifts in diet and body size. A study of fossil anthropoids is possible because variation in symphyseal fusion is continuous and directly proportional to the amount of symphyseal stress and because such variation can be considered a series of discrete character states each with unique functional underpinnings. Using recent systematic renderings of Eocene and Oligocene taxa as a template with which to assess character evolution, this analysis indicates when, and in which clade(s), specific masticatory features became fixed and thus diagnostic. A general trend throughout early anthropoid evolution is for descendent taxa to be progressively larger than ancestral forms. Coupled with this pattern is the tendency for larger-bodied fossil anthropoids to have ingested tougher diets variably consisting of thick-coated, unripe fruits and/or leaves. Mastication of mechanically tougher foods entails greater repetitive loading of the mandible and requires relatively larger amounts of balancing-side muscle force, thus resulting in correspondingly greater symphyseal fusion due to elevated dorsoventral shear. With a single exception, these adaptive transformations characterize the evolutionary pathway leading both to parapithecines and a catarrhine:platyrrhine clade (crown anthropoids). While the ancestor of crown anthropoids would have possessed a body size, diet and masticatory adaptations similar to parapithecines, such a common suite of features evolved independently. Moreover, the evolution of an early-fusing symphysis and associated wishboning loading regime of catarrhines and platyrrhines is unique among all anthropoids. Lastly, the apparent lack of reversals in symphyseal fusion indicates the improbability of phylogenetic hypotheses in which a relationship is proposed between ‘ancestral’ taxa with a greater degree of symphyseal fusion and ‘descendent’ anthropoids with a lesser degree of ossification.


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Reviewed Article

Published online: March 18, 1999
Issue release date: March – April

Number of Print Pages: 14
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0015-5713 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9980 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/FPR


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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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