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Keywords:

  • craniofacial;
  • nasal cavity;
  • paranasal;
  • pneumatization;
  • primate

Abstract

In anthropoid primates, it has been hypothesized that the magnitude of maxillary sinus growth is influenced by adjacent dental and soft tissue matrices. Relatively, little comparative evidence exists for the perinatal period when secondary pneumatization is at its earliest stages in some primates. Here, dental and midfacial variables were studied in a perinatal sample of four anthropoid primates, including three callitrichines (Leontopithecus, Saguinus, and Callithrix) and Saimiri boliviensis. In the latter species, the maxillary recess (the ontogenetic precursor to a “true” maxillary sinus) does not undergo secondary pneumatization. Using histological methods and micro-computed tomography, midfacial and dental dimensions and radiographic hydroxyapatite density of tooth cusps were measured. The distribution of osteoclasts and osteoblasts was also documented. Kruskal–Wallis's one-way analysis of variance tests indicates significant (P < 0.05) differences among groups for dental and midfacial measurements. In particular, the posterior maxillary dentition is relatively larger and more mineralized in Saimiri compared to the callitrichines. At posterior dental levels, Saimiri has the lowest palatonasal index [interdental (palatal) width/width of the nasal cavity] and highest bizygomatic–interorbital index. Distribution of osteoclasts indicates that the inferomedial surfaces of the orbits are resorptive in perinatal Saimiri, whereas, in all callitrichines, these surfaces are depository. Taken together, these findings suggest that pneumatization in Saimiri is suppressed by an inward growth trajectory of the orbits, relatively large posterior dentition, and a correspondingly compressed nasal region. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.