Ontogenetic bases of canine dimorphism in anthropoid primates

  • Leigh S
  • Setchell J
  • Buchanan L
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This study tests hypotheses regarding the ontogeny of canine tooth size dimorphism in five anthropoid primate species (Saguinus fuscicollis, Macaca mulatta, Cercocebus atys, Papio hamadryas, and Mandrillus sphinx). Canine measurements and chronological age data are analyzed to determine if bimaturism, a sex difference in the age at which eruption ceases, accounts for canine tooth sexual dimorphism. Canine height measurements are evaluated through a variety of regression techniques. Results show a lack of sexual dimorphism in Saguinus. While size dimorphism is absent in the deciduous teeth of all species analyzed, the adult teeth in cercopithecines become increasingly dimorphic through ontogeny. Female adult tooth eruption regularly precedes male tooth eruption, and regression-based eruption trajectories for both sexes intersect at about the age at which the female tooth reaches adult size. Males erupt the tooth later and more rapidly than females. Males also reach a larger adult size than females by erupting the tooth for much longer periods of time. Bimaturism is primary in the production of dimorphism, but rates of eruption show modest variation. These results point to the scheduling of sexual selection through intermale competition as a primary factor determining male eruption timing, rates of eruption, and adult size. Life history factors may play a role in determining the relations between the scheduling of intrasexual competition and canine eruption. Female contributions to sexual dimorphism are apparent in these species, suggesting that similar levels of dimorphism can be attained through diverse ontogenetic pathways.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Dental variation
  • Development
  • Sexual selection

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