A biomechanical analysis of skull form in gum-harvesting galagids.
Among primates, some highly gummivorous species habitually gouge trees to elicit exudate flow whereas others scrape the hardened gums from trees. These foraging behaviors are thought to require high external forces at the anterior dentition. In this study, we test whether skull form in gouging and scraping galagids corresponds to this suggested need to produce these higher external forces and to resist increased internal loads in the jaws. We find few consistent morphological patterns linking skull form and the generation of high forces during gouging. However, there is some tendency for gougers and scrapers to show increased load resistance capabilities in their mandibles. Future research on the mechanical properties of trees exploited by these species and on jaw function during gouging and scraping will improve our understanding of the mechanical demands of gum feeding on the galagid skull form.
Williams, SH; Wall, CE; Vinyard, CJ; Hylander, WL
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