Dust accumulation in the canopy: A potential cause of dental microwear in primates



Dental microwear researchers consider exogenous grit or dust to be an important cause of microscopic wear on primate teeth. No study to date has examined the accumulation of such abrasives on foods eaten by primates in the forest. This investigation introduces a method to collect dust at various heights in the canopy. Results from dust collection studies conducted at the primate research stations at Ketambe in Indonesia, and Hacienda La Pacifica in Costa Rica indicate that 1) grit collects throughout the canopy in both open country and tropical rain forest environments; and 2) the sizes and concentrations of dust particles accumulated over a fixed period of time differ depending on site location and season of investigation. These results may hold important implications for the interpretation of microwear on primate teeth. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.