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Keywords:

  • craniofacial development;
  • facial growth;
  • primate;
  • suture

Abstract

In addition to acting as a growth site, sutures in the facial skeleton are important for distributing mechanical forces during mastication. In the present study, the extent of fusion of a facial suture is assessed in two samples of adult bushbabies (Galago moholi and Otolemur garnettii). Microanatomical techniques were used to determine the loci of osseous bridges across the nasomaxillary suture (NMS). Histological sections containing sutures with osseous bridging were rated as “fused.” One of the specimens was studied using micro-computed tomography before paraffin embedding and serial sectioning. At all ages, O. garnettii shows more advanced fusion of the NMS than G. moholi. The youngest O. garnettii shows multiple foci of fusion of the NMS; however, 13% of the posterior most suture is patent. Throughout the NMS of this animal, sutural fusion is isolated to one or two small osseous bridges, typically of woven bone. These bridges are most often on the external (superficial) surface of the suture, but in numerous sections the site of fusion occurs deep to an external notch. In G. moholi, the youngest adults studied showed little or no fusion across the NMS. However, the nasal and maxillary bones were indirectly tethered at some levels by other bones that were fused to both nasal and maxillary bones. These results indicate that microanatomical evidence is required to fully assess the extent of fusion of facial sutures. These findings also support previous observations of differing magnitude of suture fusion between the two species. Anat Rec, 293:651–657, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.