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J Hum Evol. 2007 Sep;53(3):309-20. Epub 2007 Aug 13.

Life history theory and dental development in four species of catarrhine primates.

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Oral Biology, School of Dental Sciences, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4BW, UK.


Dental development was reconstructed in several individuals representing four species of catarrhine primates--Symphalangus syndactylus, Hylobates lar, Semnopithecus entellus priam, and Papio hamadryas--using the techniques of dental histology. Bar charts assumed to represent species-typical dental development were constructed from these data and estimated ages at first and third molar emergence were plotted on them along with ages at weaning, menarche, and first reproduction from the literature. The estimated age at first molar emergence appears to occur at weaning in the siamang, lar gibbon, and langur, and just after weaning in the baboon. Age at menarche and first reproduction occur earlier relative to dental development in both cercopithecoids than in the hylobatids, suggesting that early reproduction may be a derived trait in cercopithecoids. The results are examined in the context of life history theory.

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