Human Evolution

, 8:187

First online:

A tooth at the border of two morphogenetic fields

  • L. O. GreenfieldAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, Temple University

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A tooth at the border between two morphogenetic fields (mandibular canine and honing premolar) may become morphologically similar to and/or functionally incorporated with the teeth of either field. In light of this, observations of the morphology and occlusion of female anthropoid C1s from 58 extant species are presented to assess whether and to what extent they exhibit incisor-like form and function. Female C1s in 74% of the taxa observed exhibit well developed incisor-like traits which may reflect field border phenomena. In another 9%, incisor traits are present but they are not examples of field border phenomena. Interspecies variation in female C1 morphology is related to behavior, function, natural selection and phyletic inertia. A selection model, derived from the data, is used to explain C1 sexual dimorphism and the evolution of male and female human canines. The data's relevance to the field vs clone theory debate is also discussed.

Key words

Morphogenetic Fields Canines Anthropoids A. afarensis Sexual Dimorphism Human Canine