Despite several decades of research, there remains a lack of consensus on the extent to which bonobos are paedomorphic (juvenilized) chimpanzees in terms of cranial morphology. This study reexamines the issue by comparing the ontogeny of cranial shape in cross-sectional samples of bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) using both internal and external 3D landmarks digitized from CT scans. Geometric morphometric methods were used to quantify shape and size; dental-maturation criteria were used to estimate relative dental age. Heterochrony was evaluated using combined size-shape (allometry) and shape-age relationships for the entire cranium, the face, and the braincase. These analyses indicate that the bonobo skull is paedomorphic relative to the chimpanzee for the first principal component of size-related shape variation, most likely via a mechanism of postformation (paedomorphosis due to initial shape underdevelopment). However, the results also indicate that not all aspects of shape differences between the two species, particularly in the face, can be attributed to heterochronic transformation and that additional developmental differences must also have occurred during their evolution. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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