The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

A morphometric analysis of Pliopithecoid maxillary molar cusp peripheralization


Anthropology, University of Toronto

April 17, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

Pliopithecoidea are a widespread clade of primates that inhabited Eurasia during the Miocene from approximately 18 to 8 million years ago. The two most prominent pliopithecoid families, Crouzeliidae and Pliopithecidae, are each defined by their own distinct suite of dental characters. One of these characters is cusp peripheralization. Crouzeliids are described as having molar cusps that are significantly more peripheralized compared to pliopithecids. In the literature this observation has remained largely qualitative. Our research employs a methodology that allows us to quantify it. We collected our data by taking digital occlusal photographs of original fossil specimens. We then took linear, angle, and area measurements of the upper first and second molars from these photographs using image-processing software. We used univariate and multivariate statistical tests to evaluate the differences between crouzeliid and pliopithecid upper molar occlusal morphology. Our results show that there are significant differences in cusp peripheralization between the two pliopithecoid clades, and that crouzeliids have upper molars with more peripheralized cusps.

Department of Anthropology, University of TorontoNatural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Slides/Poster (pdf)