The 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2016)

Heterochrony of nasal turbinal development in Primates


1Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, 2School of Physical Therapy, Slippery Rock University, 3Department of Anthropology, Stony Brook University

April 16, 2016 , Atrium Ballroom A/B Add to calendar

This study investigates development of the nasal turbinals in select primates from neonate to adult stages. Differences in the number, size, and placement of the turbinals throughout these taxa represent morphological variation that may reflect function. Crania of lemurs (Lemur catta; Eulemur collaris), bushbabies (Galago moholi; Otolemur crassicaudatus), tarsiers (Tarsius syrichta), and callitrichines (Cebuella pygmaea; Saguinus oedipus) at different ages (neonate, 1-month postnatal, and adult)were analyzed using CT scans and histology to identify patterns of turbinal development. As adults, these species fall into two distinct groups representing primitive and derived turbinal states. The lemurs and bushbabies have many turbinals, consistent with the primitive state. The tarsier and callitrichines are considered to have more derived characteristics because they have fewer turbinals. During development, bushbabies display precocial turbinal development with all turbinals ossified at birth. Lemurs have delayed turbinal development, with Lemur catta being significantly more delayed in ossification than Eulemur collaris. It is also observed that secondary lamellae appear at different ages in Lemur and Eulemur. In both lemurs, posterior turbinals do not ossify until after birth. Tarsiers have a unique pattern of development that is likely related to ocular hypertrophy. Finally, the callitrichines show precocial ossification of anterior turbinals, but no evidence of posterior turbinals in the bony skeleton at these stages, suggesting a truncated growth trajectory. Comparative study of turbinal development across primate species demonstrates one way heterochrony may produce morphological variation and influence olfactory and respiratory function.

Supported by NSF # BCS-1231350; NSF # BCS-1231717; and NSF # BCS-0959438