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Chapter 5-8

Chapters 5-8

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University of Toronto Scarborough

Chapter 5 Primate OriginsBasics of Primate DentitionDiphyodonty having two sets of teeth the first set of teeth are called baby or deciduous teeth appear early in infant development and then are replaced by a full set of adult teethTeeth are found in the maxilla part of the upper jaw from which the teeth grow and the mandible the lower jawEach teeth can be divided into the following three partscrown neck and rootCrownthe part of the tooth that is visible above the gumNeck part of the tooth that is at the gum lineRoot part of the tooth that is below the gum lineThe tooth crown is covered by a hard substance called enamel and has varying numbers and kinds of cuspsthe pointed or rounded biting surface of the toothAll primates are characterized by heterodonty meaning they have different kinds of teethAnterior dentition incisors and canines Posterior dentition premolars and molarsPaleoanthropologists use the dental formula to describe the number of each kind of tooth in one half of the maxilla and mandible of a speciesBasics of the Primate SkeletonCranial skeleton bones of the headPostcranial skeleton bones below the headSkull is composed of numerous bones of varying shapes and sizes that encase the brain sensory organs and mastication chewing systemMandible and maxilla are part of the cranial skeletonOnly the mandible and a few bones of the inner ear are unfused and capable of movementTop of cranium is composed of three bones frontal forehead parietal side and temporal templeThe foramen magnum is an opening in the occipital bone through which passes the spinal cordPostcranial Skeleton and LocomotionPrimate skeleton can be divided into three parts the axial skeleton the forelimbs and the hindlimbsAxial skeleton composed of the vertebrae and ribsForelimbs clavicle collarbone humerus upper arm boneradius and ulna forearm bones and the phalanges finger bonesHindlimbs focused on the pelvis or pelvic girdle femur thighbone tibia and fibula shinbones and the phalanges toe bonesHow do we know what fossil primates were likeInsecteating primates such as tarsiers are characterized by having short sharp cusps on their teeth which serve to crush the often hard outer shell of insect preyIf similar sized fossil primate has the same overall teeth shape and size as tarsiers then researchers infer that the diets were likely similarAn issue in paleoanthropology is determining the body mass of fossil primatesTo determine body mass they employ a statistical procedure known as correlation which refers to the relationship between variablesCorrelation a statistical relationship between two variables such that high values on one factor tend to go with high values on the other factorTwo morphological aspects of dentition as they pertain to diet enamel thickness and dental morphologyInterspecific variations in enamel thickness tend to reflect differences in the physical properties of foods eaten by primatesSpecies with a diet composed of hard gritty food such as seeds tend to have thick enamel where as species such as folivores that eat leafy plant foods tend to have thin enamel
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