Measurements were taken on skulls of 253 adult female anthropoid primates from 32 species, in order to determine patterns and possible causes for variation among species in the cross-sectional size and shape of the mandibular corpus under M1.
When all 32 species are considered as a group, there is a tendency for corpus shape to become more robust with increasing body size. However, this does not hold for colobines or cercopithecines evaluated separately. When diets are classified into the general categories of folivory or frugivory, neither size-adjusted measurements of mandibular corpus breadth and height, nor estimates of the second moments of inertia or the polar moment of inertia of the mandibular cross section, show any relationship to dietary variation among species. Species reported to include hard nuts in their diets have larger mandibular cross sections than other species, and the size of the corpus is significantly correlated with size of the dentition and molar enamel thickness.
A biomechanical model taking into account frictional effects of tooth-to-tooth contact indicates that mandibular corpus robusticity may not be related to a large horizontal component of force during mastication.