The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Trabecular bone architecture in supraorbital region of Homo, Pan, Gorilla, Papio, and Cebus


Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M Health Science Center

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Post cranial trabecular bone architecture has been used as a tool to assess primate life history in living and extinct species. Trabecular architecture in cranial regions differs from that seen in postcranial regions in bone volume fraction (BVF) and structure model index (SMI) and it is unknown to what degree it is reflective of life history patterns, such as feeding strategy.

In this study, uCT was used to determine the BVF and anisotropy (DA) of the trabecular bone in 5 supraorbital regions (from the lateral orbit to the sinus) of 8 Homo, 4 Pan, 5 Cebus, 4 Papio, and 1 Gorilla. Kruskal Wallis tests determined significant differences by species across locations in trabecular bone strength predictive variables, such as BVF and DA (p=0.01 and p=0.06, respectively). In all species, except humans, BVF and DA tend to decrease moving from lateral to medial, with the highest BVF values in the lateral most region of the browridge. Overall, BVF values are greater in the gorilla specimen and less in the human group. BVF and DA decline sharply from lateral to medial in four of the five cebus as the frontal sinus cavity occupies the region more laterally than in other primate species.

The results suggest that trabecular structure within the supraorbital region may be reflective of feeding strategies. Additional study of trabecular bone architecture within craniofacial bone is needed to see if it can be used as a tool to assess masticatory patterns among living and extinct groups of primates.

This study was funded by the National Science Foundation Physical Anthropology HOMINID program (NSF BCS 0725141)

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