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


Incisor microwear and gouging in callitrichines

PETER S. UNGAR1, JESSICA FAY SLIGER1, SALVATORE S. CAPORALE1, MARK F. TEAFORD2, CHRISTOPHER J. VINYARD3 and ANDREA B. TAYLOR4.

1Department of Anthropology, University of Arkansas, 2Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Sciences, High Point University, 3Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Northeast Ohio Meidcal University, 4Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University

Friday 9:15-9:30, Ballroom C Add to calendar

All callitrichines feed on exudates. However, marmosets actively stimulate the flow of exudates by gouging trees, while tamarins rely on exudates released by insect damage or other injury to trees. These behavioral differences have been correlated with an assortment of morphological differences between these taxa, but the potential impact of these behavioral differences on dental microwear has never been examined.

The purpose of this study was to test the idea that incisor microwear textures differ between museum samples of marmosets and tamarins, and between museum samples of zoo and wild-collected specimens. Expectations were that, compared to tamarins, marmosets would have more complex and variable surfaces with larger features, as would wild compared to zoo specimens.

High-resolution replicas were made of labial surfaces of lower incisors from wild-caught marmosets (n=22) and tamarins (n=9) at the Goeldi Museum (Belem), and from zoo specimens (n=8) at the Smithsonian (Washington, DC). Scanning confocal profilometry and scale-sensitive fractal analysis were used to generate microwear texture attributes for each specimen. Central tendencies and variances were compared between taxa and between wild versus zoo specimens using non-parametric ANOVAs and Levene’s tests respectively.

With appropriate sample size caveats, results showed marmosets have marginally higher and significantly more dispersion in texture complexity than tamarins. Wild callitrichines have higher complexity, lower anisotropy, and higher textural fill volume as well as higher variance in textural complexity and heterogeneity than captive individuals. These results raise the possibility that future analyses might help document the practice of gouging in fossil primates.

This project was funded by the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation.

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