Occlusal relief changes with molar wear in Pan troglodytes troglodytes and Gorilla gorilla gorilla.
ABSTRACT Most research on primate tooth form-function relationships has focused on unworn teeth. This study presents a morphological comparison of variably worn lower second molars (M(2)s) of lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla; n=47) and common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes; n=54) using dental topographic analysis. High-resolution replicas of occlusal surfaces were prepared and scanned in 3D by laser scanning. The resulting elevation data were used to create a geographic information system (GIS) for each tooth. Occlusal relief, defined as the ratio of 3D surface area to 2D planometric area of the occlusal table, was calculated and compared between wear stages, taxa, and sexes. The results failed to show a difference in occlusal relief between males and females of a given taxon, but did evince differences between wear stages and between taxa. A lack of significant interaction between wear stage and taxon factors suggests that differences in occlusal relief between chimpanzees and gorillas are maintained throughout the wear sequence. These results add to a growing body of information on how molar teeth change with wear, and how differences between primate species are maintained at comparable points throughout the wear sequence. Such studies provide new insights into form-function relationships, which will allow us to infer certain aspects of diet in fossils with worn teeth.
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ABSTRACT: European Miocene "apes" have been known for nearly a century and a half but their phylogenetic significance is only now becoming apparent with the recent discovery of many relatively complete remains. Some appear to be close in time and morphology to the last common ancestor of modern great apes and humans. The current study is an attempt to reconstruct the diets of these fossils on the basis of quantitative data. Results suggest that these primates varied more greatly in their diets than modern apes, with adaptations ranging from hard-object feeding to soft-object frugivory to folivory.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/1995; 92(12):5479-81. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: THE molar morphology of therian mammals has interested zoologists for nearly a century. Its basic functional significance has been demonstrated by cinefluorographic studies of molar occlusion and jaw movements during mastication in the American opossum (Didelphis marsupialis)1,2, together with a comprehensive study of the molar teeth of Mesozoic mammals.Nature 08/1970; 227(5254):197-9. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Gorilla gorilla exemplifies a species that shows considerable variation in habitat, behaviour, genetic structure and morphology. This study examines variation of dental morphology in gorillas. Despite the marked size dimorphism, there are no significant shape differences between the sexes within subspecies. Differences in dental morphology, including tooth cusp proportions between the western G. g. gorilla and the eastern G. g. beringei are considerable. Although more similar to G. g. beringei than to the western G. g. gorilla, G. g. graueri also shows distinct morphological features. This indicates that the morphology of G. g. graueri is not merely intermediate, and genetic isolation between the two eastern subspecies could have had a substantial influence. Such extensive variation in dental morphology in Gorilla gorilla can be considered to be the result of an interesting combination of factors, including local dietary adaptations.Journal of Human Evolution 02/1998; 34(1):55-70. · 4.09 Impact Factor