• ontogeny;
  • allometry;
  • Procrustes;
  • hominoid;
  • mandible


Investigating ontogenetic variation and allometry in the mandible can provide valuable insight and aid in addressing questions related to the ontogeny of the skull. Here, patterns of ontogenetic shape change and allometric trajectories were examined in the mandible of 187 sub-adult and adult humans, bonobos, and chimpanzees. Procrustes-based geometric morphometrics was employed to quantify and analyze mandibular form. Thirty three-dimensional landmarks were used to capture the overall morphology of the mandible, and the landmarks were analyzed as a whole and subdivided into separate anterior and posterior units. Principal component analyses in Procrustes shape–space and form–space, and multivariate regressions were used to examine patterns of ontogenetic and allometric shape change. Results suggest that humans are distinct from Pan both in their mandibular morphology, particularly in the anterior-alveolar region, and direction of allometric trajectory. Chimpanzees and bonobos have parallel ontogenetic trajectories, but also show differences in mandibular shape. Species-specific features and adult mandibular shape are established before or by the eruption of the deciduous dentition. This suggests that developmental processes prior to deciduous teeth eruption have a stronger effect establishing taxa-specific phenotypes than later postnatal effects. This additionally implies that divergent trajectories between Pan and Homo do not contribute much to the adult mandibular shape after deciduous teeth eruption. Separate analyses of the anterior-alveolar region and ascending ramus show that these regions are semi-independent in their developmental pattern of shape change and allometry. This implies that allometric variation and ontogenetic shape change in the hominoid mandible is decoupled. Anat Rec, 297:261–272, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.