Tooth size variation related to age in Amboseli baboons.
We measured the molar size from a single population of wild baboons from Amboseli (Kenya), both females (n=57) and males (n=50). All the females were of known age; the males represented a mix of known-age individuals (n=31) and individuals with ages estimated to within 2 years (n=19). The results showed a significant reduction in the mesiodistal length of teeth in both sexes as a function of age. Overall patterns of age-related change in tooth size did not change whether we included or excluded the individuals of estimated age, but patterns of statistical significance changed as a result of changed sample sizes. Our results demonstrate that tooth length is directly related to age due to interproximal wearing caused by M2 and M3 compression loads. Dental studies in primates, including both fossil and extant species, are mostly based on specimens obtained from osteological collections of varying origins, for which the age at death of each individual in the sample is not known. Researchers should take into account the phenomenon of interproximal attrition leading to reduced tooth size when measuring tooth length for ondontometric purposes.
Galbany, J; Dotras, L; Alberts, SC; Pérez-Pérez, A
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