Comparative Dental Morphology
14th International Symposium on Dental Morphology, Greifswald, August 2008: Selected papersEditor(s): Koppe T. (Greifswald)
Meyer G. (Greifswald)
Alt K.W. (Mainz)
Brook A. (Liverpool)
Dean M.C. (London)
Kjaer I. (Copenhagen)
Lukacs J.R. (Eugene, Oreg.)
Smith B.H. (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Teaford M.F. (Baltimore, Md.)
Molar Crown and Root Size Relationship in Anthropoid PrimatesKupczik K. · Olejniczak A.J. · Skinner M.M. · Hublin J.-J.
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
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Mandibular corpus form is thought to reflect masticatory function and the size of the dentition, but there is no universal association between crown dimensions and corpus size across anthropoids. Previous research was based on the assumption that crown size is an appropriate proxy for overall tooth size, but this hypothesis remains largely untested. This study assesses the relationship between the volume and surface area of molar crowns and roots by examining two main hypotheses: (1) crown size correlates significantly with root size, and (2) the proportion of root-to-crown surface area is related to dietary proclivity. Permanent M2s (n = 58) representing 19 anthropoid species were CT scanned and the volume and surface area of the crown and root were measured. Interspecific correlation and regression analyses reveal significant isometric relationships between crown and root volume and a positive allometric relationship between root and crown surface area (i.e. as crown surface area increases, root surface area becomes disproportionately greater). Intraspecifically, crown and root surface area correlate significantly in some species where such analyses were possible. In general, hard object feeders exhibit relatively larger root surface area per unit crown surface area compared to soft and tough object feeders. The results also show that despite differences in food specialization closely related species have similar root-to-crown surface area proportions, thus indicating a strong phylogenetic influence. Since it is possible that, at least in some species, crown and root size vary independently, future studies should elucidate the relationship between tooth root size and mandible form.
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