, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 195-203
Date: 08 Nov 2007

Mandibular morphometric variation among Chinese cercopithecoids and the unique structure of the snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus) mandible

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Abstract

In order to understand how mandibular structure differs among the Chinese cercopithecoids (Rhinopithecus, Trachypithecus and Macaca), particularly the uniqueness of the snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus), we analysed ten mandibular measurements by principal components analysis (PCA), and examined scaling patterns. The results provided by the PCA illustrated differences due to size among the cercopithecoids and the relationship between colobines (Trachypithecus and Rhinopithecus) and cercopithecines, in which macaques (Macaca) are included. Allometric analysis indicated that, biomechanically, there is not a marked difference between macaques and leaf-eating monkeys. This may be associated with the fact that both share some similar ecology and niches in south and southwest China. The snub-nosed monkeys exhibit a significantly more robust mandible, evident in the symphysis, corpus, condyle, and masticatory momentum arm. This supports the hypothesis, based on the study of dental structure, that Rhinopithecus is a unique group in Asian Old World monkeys (OWMs) and has developed some unique characteristics in order to adapt to the tough food available in the severe cold climate of the Plateaux of Qinghai–Tibet, Yun-Gui and Qingling in China.