Tooth eruption and browridge formation



One of the most reasonable hypotheses regarding the functional significance of the browridge is that the supraorbital torus forms in response to masticatory stress during development. Oyen, Walker, and Rice (1979) have recently proposed a model that tests this hypothesis: if browridges are functionally related to masticatory stresses on the cranial vault, then changes in the biomechanics of the masticatory system ought to be reflected by changes in the browridge. To test their model they attempted to relate biomechanical discontinuities resulting from tooth eruption to episodes of bone deposition on the supraorbital tori of a developmental series of dry Papio crania. This paper reports on a parallel test of the model on a cross-sectional sample of Australian Aboriginal juvenile crania. This sample showed no relation between tooth eruption and the supraorbital surface morphology thought to be indicative of active bone deposition. It is also demonstrated that no significant relationship between tooth eruption and episodes of bone deposition is shown by the Papio sample. It is concluded that the use of small cross-sectional samples of dry crania does not provide a valid test of the model.