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J Hum Evol. 2007 Feb;52(2):201-16. Epub 2006 Sep 23.

Molar development in common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes).

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Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.


Numerous studies have reported on enamel and dentine development in hominoid molars, although little is known about intraspecific incremental feature variation. Furthermore, a recent histological study suggested that there is little or no time between age at chimpanzee crown completion and age at molar eruption, which is unlikely given that root growth is necessary for tooth eruption. The study presented here redefines growth standards for chimpanzee molar teeth and examines variation in incremental features. The periodicity of Retzius lines in a relatively large sample was found to be 6 or 7 days. The number of Retzius lines and cuspal enamel thickness both vary within a cusp type, among cusps, and among molars, resulting in marked variation in formation time. Daily secretion rate is consistent within analogous cuspal zones (inner, middle, and outer enamel) within and among cusp types and among molar types. Significantly increasing trends are found from inner to outer cuspal enamel (3 to 5 microns/day). Cuspal initiation and completion sequences also vary, although sequences for mandibular molar cusps are more consistent. Cusp-specific formation time ranges from approximately 2 to 3 years, increasing from M1 to M2, and often decreasing from M2 to M3. These times are intermediate between radiographic studies and a previous histological study, although both formation time within cusps and overlap between molars vary considerably. Cusp-specific (coronal) extension rates range from approximately 4 to 9 microns/day, and root extension rates in the first 5 mm of roots range from 3 to 9 microns/day. These rates are greater in M1 than in M2 or M3, and they are greater in mandibular molars than in respective maxillary molars. This significant enlargement of comparative data on nonhuman primate incremental development demonstrates that developmental variation among cusp and molar types should be considered during interpretations and comparisons of small samples of fossil hominins and hominoids.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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