The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Do food material properties predict jaw and tooth morphology in primates?

ERIN R. VOGEL1, SUSAN COINER-COLLIER1, ROBERT S. SCOTT1, JANINE CHALK2, PAUL CONSTANTINO3, HALSZKA GLOWACKA4, LAURA LOYOLA5, KERRY OSSI-LUPO6, MELISSA RAGUET-SCHOFIELD7, MAURICIO TALEBI8, CHRISTOPHER J. VINYARD9, BARTH W. WRIGHT10, NAYUTA YAMASHITA11, NATHANIEL J. DOMINY12 and PETER W. LUCAS13.

1Department of Anthropology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, 3Department of Biology, Marshall University, 4School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, 5Program in Integrative and Evolutionary Biology, University of Southern California, 6Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences, Stony Brook University, 7Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis, 8Biological Sciences, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), 9Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Northeast Ohio Medical University, 10Department of Anatomy, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, 11Institute for Population Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, 12Department of Anthropology, Dartmouth College, 13Department of Bioclinical Sciences, Kuwait University

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Food material properties (FMPs) have long been predicted to influence masticatory morphology of human and non-human primates. The existence of a functional and adaptive relationship between skull morphology and diet in primates is well accepted among physical anthropologists, yet few studies have actually used the available FMP data of primate dietary items to support this relationship. For example, robust jaws and thick enamel are commonly associated with hard object feeding, but “hard” is a relative term and rarely defined. Thus, the question of whether FMPs influence variation in masticatory morphology across primate species remains unanswered. Furthermore, this relationship between form and FMPs has often been used to predict the physical properties of the diets of early hominin species. A large-scale, comparative analysis is warranted to justify this assumption and its utility. Here, we test if a relationship among dental and mandibular morphology, percentage of time feeding, and FMPs exists for twenty-seven primate species, with degree of relatedness controlled through the use of phylogenetic generalized least-squares (PGLS). Preliminary analyses indicate a positive relationship between FMP and relative tooth enamel thickness and a trend with shape of mandibular condyles, with the strongest relationship found when maximum FMPs are used in the models. FMPs also appear to be related to feeding time, when controlling for body size. By integrating data on feeding ecology, FMPs, and morphology, we can deepen our understanding of the complex relationship between form and function in living and extinct primate species.

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