Size and diet in the evolution of african ape craniodental form

S. T. Brian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Interspecific differences in craniodental morphology among Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, and Gorilla gorilla are analyzed. These apes differ in both diet and body size, and thus present an excellent example in which to apply an allometric criterion of subtraction in order to determine morphological differences which might be related to divergent dietary specialization. The use of ontogenetic allometry in particular as a criterion of subtraction is discussed. Bivariate and multivariate results indicate that most of the variation in skull form among the species relates to the extension of a common growth trend to different sizes. Comparative analysis of growth trajectories reveals a number of differences, but none that appear to relate to a reorganization of skull proportions which might correspond to a dietary shift towards increased folivory. The dentition clearly exhibits non-allometric shape changes corresponding to the dietary differences, however. The meaning of these differences between cranial and dental patterns is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-68
Number of pages37
JournalFolia Primatologica
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1983


  • African apes
  • Allometry
  • Craniodental morphology
  • Diet
  • Ontogenetic scaling
  • Words

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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