Polymorphic aspects of male anthropoid canines



Interspecific variation in the architecture of male anthropoid maxillary canines is documented. Extant taxa are polymorphic, and most can be sorted into two major groupings based on quantitative measures of shape, distal edge sharpness, and interspecific changes in their linear dimensions (projection, mesiodistal length, and buccolingual breadth) relative to each other and to body mass (scaling). One group includes the great apes and ceboids; the other includes cercopithecoids and hylobatids. Statistically significant differences between these groups were found for canine shape, for trajectories of regressions for canine projection on canine length and canine breadth, and for canine projection and canine breadth relative to body mass. The data indicate that explanations of canine variation in male anthropoids must include a mechanical interpretation of form in addition to assessments of habitus, heritage, and body mass.