Protostylid expression at the enamel-dentine junction and enamel surface of mandibular molars of Paranthropus robustus and Australopithecus africanus.
J Hum Evol
Distinctive expressions and incidences of discrete dental traits at the outer enamel surface (OES) contribute to the diagnoses of many early hominin taxa. Examination of the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ), imaged non-destructively using micro-computed tomography, has elucidated the morphological development of dental traits and improved interpretations of their variability within and among taxa. The OES expressions of one of these dental traits, the protostylid, have been found to differ among African Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominin taxa. In this study protostylid expression is examined at the OES and at the EDJ of Paranthropus robustus (n=23) and Australopithecus africanus (n=28) mandibular molars, with the goals of incorporating EDJ morphology into the definition of the protostylid and assessing the relative contribution of the EDJ and enamel cap to its expression in these taxa. The results provide evidence (a) of statistically significant taxon-specific patterns of protostylid morphology at the EDJ that are not evident at the OES; (b) that in P. robustus, thick enamel reduces the morphological correspondence between the form of the protostylid seen at the EDJ and the OES, and (c) that if EDJ images can be obtained, then the protostylid retains its taxonomic value even in worn teeth.
|Title:||Protostylid expression at the enamel-dentine junction and enamel surface of mandibular molars of Paranthropus robustus and Australopithecus africanus.|
|Keywords:||Animals, Dental Enamel, Dentin, Fossils, Hominidae, Molar, Species Specificity|
|UCL classification:||UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences|
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