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Keywords:

  • Cercopithecoidea;
  • cranial pneumatization;
  • latitudinal variation

Abstract

Macaques (genus Macaca) are unique among cercopithecids in that they possess a maxillary sinus, and among anthropoids in that they demonstrate a relatively weak relationship between the size of this sinus and the cranium. To test the hypothesis that extrinsic factors may contribute to maxillary sinus size variation, a sample of 46 Japanese macaque (M. fuscata) crania from known localities were subjected to computed tomography (CT) imaging, and sinus volume and nasal cavity area were analyzed relative to latitude and temperature variables. The results suggest that the environmental factors are significant determinants of nasal cavity size in Japanese macaques, but that the relationships between the environment and maxillary sinus volume (MSV) are probably a passive consequence of changes in the size of the nasal cavity. The sinus shrinks as the nasal cavity expands, due to an increased need to condition inspired air in colder climates. This in turn suggests that the sinus itself does not contribute significantly to upper respiratory function. Am. J. Primatol. 59:153–158, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.