Size and Scaling in the Mandible of Living and Extinct ApesRavosa 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 Folia Primatol 2000;71:305–322 (DOI:10.1159/000021754)
The purpose of this study is to fill a gap in our knowledge of dietary and allometric determinants of masticatory function and mandibular morphology in major catarrhine clades. To extend the implications of previous work on variation in mandibular form and function in other primates, a scaling analysis was performed on 20 extinct and 7 living non-cercopithecoid catarrhines or ‘dental apes’. Results of allometric comparisons indicate that for a given jaw length, larger apes exhibit significantly more robust corpora and symphyses than smaller forms. This appears linked to size-related increases in dietary toughness and/or hardness, which in turn causes elevated mandibular loads and/or greater repetitive loading during unilateral mastication. Larger-bodied dental apes also display more curved symphyses, which also explains the positive allometry of symphysis width and height. In apes, proconsulids often evince more robust jaws while all hylobatids,
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