Analysis of primate dental microwear using image processing techniques.
This paper introduces Fourier transformation as a rapid, replicable means for characterizing and distinguishing patterns of microscopic wear on primate teeth. The two-dimensional power spectra obtained from numerical Fourier transformation are shown to be different between two test patterns, one of which is composed of linear features and the other of randomly-spaced dots. A comparison is made, using Fourier transformation, of dental microwear patterns of small samples of two primate species, Ateles geoffroyi, the spider monkey, and Chiropotes satanas, the bearded saki. Ateles, with a scratch-dominated pattern of microwear, has a Fourier transform resembling that of the linear test pattern. Chiropotes, with a pit-dominated microwear pattern, resembles the transform of the dot pattern. The significance of this is discussed in light of the dietary differences between the two species.
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