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J Hum Evol. 2009 Apr;56(4):405-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.11.003. Epub 2009 Mar 14.

Dental microwear texture analysis of two families of subfossil lemurs from Madagascar.

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Environmental Dynamics Doctoral Program, University of Arkansas, 113 Ozark Hall, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.


This study employs dental microwear texture analysis to reconstruct the diets of two families of subfossil lemurs from Madagascar, the archaeolemurids and megaladapids. This technique is based on three-dimensional surface measurements utilizing a white-light confocal profiler and scale-sensitive fractal analysis. Data were recorded for six texture variables previously used successfully to distinguish between living primates with known dietary differences. Statistical analyses revealed that the archaeolemurids and megaladapids have overlapping microwear texture signatures, suggesting that the two families occasionally depended on resources with similar mechanical properties. Even so, moderate variation in most attributes is evident, and results suggest potential differences in the foods consumed by the two families. The microwear pattern for the megaladapids indicates a preference for tougher foods, such as many leaves, while that of the archaeolemurids is consistent with the consumption of harder foods. The results also indicate some intraspecific differences among taxa within each family. This evidence suggests that the archaeolemurids and megaladapids, like many living primates, likely consumed a variety of food types.

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