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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2004 Nov;125(3):279-91.

Dental microwear in anubis and hybrid baboons (Papio hamadryas, sensu lato) living in Awash National Park, Ethiopia.

Author information

1
Department of Archaeology, Sheffield University, Sheffield S1 4ET, UK. p.nystrom@sheffield.ac.uk

Abstract

We describe dental microwear in baboons (Papio hamadryas sensu lato) from the anubis-hamadryas hybrid zone of Awash National Park, Ethiopia, outline its variation with sex and age, and attempt to relate the observed microwear pattern to environment and diet. Casts of the maxillary second molar of 52 adult and subadult individuals of both sexes were examined with a scanning electron microscope at x 500. Digitized micrographs were taken at a consistent location on facet 9, and microwear was recorded with an image analysis software package. Univariate and multivariate statistics were used to investigate the shape, size, and density of microwear features. The overall pattern of microwear exhibits an unusual combination of high feature density, with numerous small pits and relatively wide striations, and a high correlation between width of pits and striations across individuals. We interpret this pattern as predominantly the consequence of abrasion by relatively small-caliber environmental grit when accidentally ingested with tough foods such as dried seeds and fruits, as expected in a terrestrial omnivore living in a dusty habitat. Statistical analysis revealed no significant differences between groups defined by sex, age, or troop membership, a result consistent with qualitative observations of feeding habits in this population, and which lends no support to the hypothesis that the longer jaws of adult males should result in longer striations. A trend towards greater feature density in females, however, might be due to limited sexual dinichism, and merits further investigation.

PMID:
15386258
DOI:
10.1002/ajpa.10274
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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