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

Growth and development in the genus Pan: a life history approach


Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield

Friday 5:00-5:15, Ballroom B Add to calendar

The current study applies a holistic approach to understanding both chimpanzee and bonobo skeletal development by means of integrating data on dental development, epiphyseal union, and long-bone dimensions in a cross-sectional sample of sub-adults from museum collections. These data build upon prior research where there has been study of specific regions but a lack of integration of all three types of data in a single sample of significant size.

Included in this sample are 37 Pan paniscus and 177 Pan troglodytes, the majority of which were wild shot. Epiphyseal fusion state was evaluated using an ordinal classification system based on McKern and Stewart. The dentition was scored by the Demirjian method using radiographs. Diaphyseal length was measured for all long-bones. It was found that the overall epiphyseal fusion pattern was largely similar for both species. Comparisons to humans suggest that the pattern is similar with some exceptions such as the earlier fusion of the ischium of the pelvis in Pan. However, despite the similarities in fusion patterning, analysis of timing of epiphyseal events relative to dental development and long-bone growth suggests notable deviations when compared to the human pattern. Full dental maturity is completed significantly before skeletal maturity whereas in humans this is not usually the case. These results will have implications for our understanding of the evolution of positional behaviour adaptations and will contribute to our understanding of life-history patterns in these species.

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