1Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2Anthropology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
April 18, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom
Primate dental development can be used to both determine age in individuals and estimate life history patterns in past species. An understanding of the differences in dental development between primate species is imperative for reliable research in these areas. The aims of this study are to compare the development of deciduous teeth between Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei. Most research into primate dental ontogeny focuses on chimpanzees, while few studies concentrate on gorillas. Even fewer comparative studies of Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei have been undertaken. Moreover, previous research on primate dental development largely examines the development of permanent teeth, which is more strongly influenced by environmental stressors than deciduous teeth. To address these gaps in the current literature, this study examines the development of deciduous teeth and permanent teeth, drawing comparisons between G. gorilla and G. beringei. Radiographic images from the mandibles of 44 nonadult individuals from museum collections are scored using a dental age method adapted by Hammerl (2013) from Kuykendall’s (1996) method of age-scoring permanent dentition. Age for stage and stage for age statistics, which describe the average age at a given stage (including midpoint age at attainment values) and average stage for a given age, respectively, are determined. Results show a greater interspecies difference in rates of deciduous than permanent dental development. These results elucidate the need for expanded research into deciduous teeth of primates for purposes of measuring differences in ontogeny between extant primate species and better estimating the ontogeny in extinct primates and hominids.