Skeletal and dental growth and development in chimpanzees of the Taï National Park, Côte D'Ivoire


Adrienne L. Zihlman, Anthropology Department, University of California, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. Tel: +1 831 459 4467; Fax: +1 831 459 5900


An extraordinary collection of 22 immature skeletons from Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire, has provided a rare opportunity to establish the timing of dental eruption and its correlation with skeletal fusion and morphometrics in wild chimpanzees of known chronological ages. Comparison of the immature Taï chimpanzees Pan troglodytes verus with adults from the same population show that sex differences in skeletal maturation apparently appear during the Juvenile II stage, about age 8. A few skeletons from other chimpanzee field sites conform to the dental and skeletal growth in Taï chimpanzees. The tempo of wild chimpanzee growth contrasts sharply with the rate demonstrated for captive individuals. Captive chimpanzees may mature as much as 3 years earlier. The ability to link physical development with field observations of immature chimpanzees increases our understanding of their life-history stages. These data provide an improved dataset for comparing the rates of growth among chimpanzees, Homo sapiens and fossil hominids.