Patterns of ontogeny in human evolution: Evidence from dental development

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Abstract

An understanding of the patterns of maturation that characterize earlier hominines would markedly increase our understanding of human evolution. Earlier reports suggesting that the australopithecines had a pattern of growth and development similar to that of modern humans have been challenged in recent years by a variety of studies. These studies have focused on dental enamel microstructure in attempts to characterize the time frame of enamel calcification. When the latter are combined with data on root development and the sequence of dental calcification and eruption, a picture emerges that attempts to characterize modern human, early hominine, and ape dental maturation.

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