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J Hum Evol. 2005 Feb;48(2):175-97.

Ontogenetic integration of the hominoid face.

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Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Science, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa.


By investigating similarity in cranial covariation patterns, it is possible to locate underlying functional and developmental causes for the patterning, and to make inferences about the evolutionary forces that have acted to produce the patterns. Furthermore, establishing where these covariation patterns may diverge in ontogeny can offer insight into when selection may have acted on development. Here, covariation patterns are compared among adult and non-adult members of the African ape/human clade, in order to address three questions. First, are integration patterns constant among adult African apes and humans? Second, are they are constant in non-adults--i.e. throughout ontogeny? Third, if they are not constant, when do they diverge? Measurements are obtained from 677 crania of adult and non-adult African apes and humans. In order to address the first two questions, correlation matrices and theoretical integration matrices are compared using matrix correlation methods. The third question is evaluated by comparing correlation and variance/covariance patterns, using matrix correlation and random skewers methods, respectively, between adjacent age categories within each species, and between equivalent age categories among the four species. Results show that the hominoids share a similar pattern of ontogenetic integration, suggesting that common developmental/functional integrative processes may play an important role in keeping covariance structure stable across this lineage. However, there are some important differences in the magnitude of integration and in phenotypic covariance structure among the species, which may provide some insight into how selection acted to differentiate humans from the great apes.

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