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Am J Phys Anthropol. 1996 Jan;99(1):135-57.

Dental development in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): the timing of tooth calcification stages.

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  • 1Department of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Data are presented documenting the timing of tooth calcification for the left mandibular dentition (I1-M3) based on a cross-sectional series of intraoral dental X-rays from a sample of 118 captive chimpanzees. Mean, median, and midpoint ages of attainment; standard deviations (SD); interquartile ranges (IQR); and age ranges were calculated for the eight developmental stages of these teeth. Minor differences with previous studies of chimpanzee dental development were found (Anemone et al. [1991] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 86:229-241; Anemone and Watts [1992] J. Hum. Evol. 22:149-153), but the similarities with previous studies are more striking despite the differences in samples. In contrast to other pongid studies, sex differences in developmental timing were documented, particularly for the canine. Regression models for age estimation from dental maturity scores were also presented. This chimpanzee standard is compared with human standards to determine absolute and relative differences in the timing of crown and root calcification. The overall period of canine development in both species is nearly identical, although those for crown and root formation are markedly different--making this tooth the most distinctive feature between chimpanzee and human dental development periods. Although the molars demonstrate differences in the timing of crown and root calcification periods, they are more proportional than for other teeth. This contributes to the difficulties in distinguishing between "human" and "chimpanzee" patterns of molar development. The developmental differences discussed are placed in perspective with consideration to microstructural and morphological features of chimpanzee and human teeth, and to overall growth periods in these species.

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