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Comparative dental development and microstructure of Proconsul teeth from Rusinga Island, Kenya

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Don Reid


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Eighteen histological sections were prepared from eleven teeth attributed to Proconsul heseloni and two molar teeth attributed to Proconsul nyanzae. Measurements of spacings and counts of daily incremental markings in both enamel and dentine were possible in the majority of these tooth sections. Measurements of the spacings and angles to the enamel dentine junction (EDJ) of regular striae of Retzius and of equivalent markings in dentine were also made. In addition to these measurements, counts of perikymata were made on replicas of all other Proconsul teeth housed in the National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi, that preserved good perikymata on any aspect of their tooth surface. The sequence of crown formation in Proconsul and the crown formation times of the enamel and dentine were estimated from these data. In addition, the rates of root extension were estimated using the formula derived for this purpose by Shellis (Archs. ornl Biol. 29, 697-705, 1984) and estimates of the total period of root formation subsequently made for premolar and molar teeth based on measurements of root length. A composite chart of dental development for P. heseloni is presented which suggests M3 root completion was between six and seven years of age. In general Proconsul molar teeth have high stria angles to the EDJ, a high ratio of enamel formed with respect to dentine formed at the same time, median values of rates of enamel formation close to the EDJ is excess of 4 mu m per day and the occasional presence of "S-shaped" striae in the lateral enamel. There is no evidence to suggest that Proconsul from Rusinga Island, Kenya, had relatively thin enamel on molar or premolar teeth. When all of these data are considered in a comparative context, Proconsul emerges overall as hominoid-like in its enamel and dentine microstructure and as most similar to Pongo but with some features shared with Pan and Homo. Similar data for other Miocene primates will have considerable bearing on how these data are interpreted. These new data on dental microanatomy and on dental development in Proconsul make a further contribution to our understanding of the total morphological picture of this early Miocene primate. (C) 1998 Academic Press.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Beynon AD, Dean MC, Leakey MG, Reid DJ, Walker A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Human Evolution

Year: 1998

Volume: 35

Issue: 2

Pages: 163-209

Print publication date: 01/08/1998

ISSN (print): 0047-2484

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8606

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1006/jhev.1998.0230


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