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Keywords:

  • immature Taï chimpanzees;
  • juvenile age classes;
  • dental eruption;
  • skeletal growth

Abstract

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.