, Volume 146, Issue 2, pp 167-180

A biometric study of suture fusion and skull growth in peccaries

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Summary

Museum skull populations of Dicotyles tajacu (collared peccary) and Tayassu pecari (white-lipped peccary) were sampled for a study correlating suture fusion and the dynamics of skull growth. The skulls were scored for degree of fusion of each suture, and measurements of various cranial dimensions were taken. The fusion scores and measurements were then analyzed by a variety of statistical procedures. The sequence of suture closure in peccaries differs from most other mammals in the early fusion of most palatal and facial sutures. This difference is thought to be related to a need for strengthening the snout, which is used in stressful rooting and feeding activities. Most differences in closure order between the two peccary genera are correlated with differences in adult skull proportions. A general association was found between synostosis of individual sutures and the cessation of rapid growth in related cranial dimensions. However, in many dimensions slow linear growth continued after synostosis, presumably by periosteal apposition.

Supported in part by a grant from the Campus Research Board, University of Illinois at the Medical Center.