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


Pace of dental eruption and epiphyseal fusion in captive Macaca mulatta

ANDREA R. ELLER, SAMANTHA BUCKLEY, TREVOR EDWARDS, STEPHEN R. FROST and FRANCES J. WHITE.

Anthropology, University of Oregon

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Data on the timing of developmental markers in non-human primates is rare. This study reports new data on the pace of dental eruption and epiphyseal union in two populations of macaques. Since development and aging are impacted by environmental conditions, we wanted to compare different captive populations. The timing of eruption and epiphyseal fusion in primates can elucidate ecological relationships in ways that sequence alone cannot.

Thirty-nine M. mulatta individuals of known age (fetal to adult) from two captive populations are included. Teeth were scored from “0” (unerupted) to “4” (full occlusion) for each tooth, deciduous and permanent, and epiphyses from “0” (no fusion) to “2” (completely fused), for 33 epiphyses including all major long bones, the pelvis, and metapodials. Because we use graded, not dichotomous, scales and younger populations than previous studies, we are able to contribute new data for understanding the pace of development within Macaca mulatta, including the first age estimates for metapodial fusion and tooth eruption data prior to dp4 in macaques.

There were significant positive regressions of both fusion (F=292.19; df 1,47; p <0.001) and eruption (F=291.49; df 1,73; p<0.001). The two measures of development were also highly correlated (Spearman r = 0.745, p<.001), and therefore either juvenile cranial or postcranial material can be used to predict age. However, Spearman rank correlation between the residuals from the separate dental and epiphyseal regressions yielded no significant correlation (r=-0.137, p=0.413), suggesting deviations from the predicted developmental state within individuals were not caused by a single common factor.

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