Human Evolution

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 23-39

First online:

Sexual dimorphism of tooth size in anthropoids

  • P. W. LucasAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, National University of Singapore
  • , R. T. CorlettAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, National University of Singapore
  • , D. A. LukeAffiliated withUnit of Anatomy in relation to dentistry Anatomy Department, Guy’s Hospital Medical School

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


We have examined the size of the canine and postcanine teeth of cebid and catarrhine primates in relation to each other, to jaw size and to body weight. We have found that the canine size of males is large enough to be limited by jaw shape and size. A large contribution of P4 to the postcanine row is associated with smaller canines in males. Neither factor seems to limit canine size in females. The females of a small number of species possess enlarged canines. Much of the variation of the postcanine row can be described by the ratio of the (nominal) crown areas of M1 to M3. This ratio is monomorphic which conforms with the general lack of dietary dimorphism in primates. A brief discussion of the evolution of canine size is offered with a new suggestion to account for canine reduction in male hominids.