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Keywords:

  • mandible;
  • growth;
  • monkeys

Abstract

A new technique has been developed for estimating age in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) that is based on mandibular measurements and has several advantages over presently available techniques. First, the new technique is relatively quick and inexpensive because a single measurement or radiograph suffices to produce an age estimate. Second, mandibular growth represents a more continuous phenomenon than either epiphyseal union or dental eruption; therefore, age estimates may be made throughout the period of growth without significant gaps in the process. Finally, the new technique may be used on incomplete or even fragmentary skeletal material because it requires that only a portion of the mandible be preserved. The new technique produces age estimates with a prediction error of ±5.08 months in males and ±7.29 months in females. These errors are only slightly higher than those found previously for dental eruption or epiphyseal union data.