, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 425-438
Date: 21 Aug 2012

Dental microwear texture analysis of late Pliocene Procynocephalus subhimalayanus (Primates: Cercopithecidae) of the Upper Siwaliks, India

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Abstract

Late Pliocene Procynocephalus subhimalayanus from the Upper Siwaliks, India is known from only three specimens. The dietary proclivities of this taxon have implications for reconstructing the paleoecology of the Upper Siwaliks. The dental microwear texture properties of Procynocephalus are compared to those from extant tropical forest primates including Alouatta palliata (n = 11), Cebus apella (n = 13), Gorilla gorilla (n = 9), Lophocebus albigena (n = 15) and Trachypithecus cristatus (n = 12). Dental microwear textures are generated by scanning the surface enamel of Facet 9 using white-light confocal microscopy at 100x. Four variables were extracted from scale-sensitive fractal analysis, and the data were ranked before ANOVA with post-hoc tests of significance and multivariate analyses were performed. Procynocephalus clusters closest to Lophocebus, Cebus and some Gorilla specimens suggesting hard-object feeding characterized a portion of its diet. The dental microwear texture of Procynocephalus supports interpretations of widespread grasslands of the Late Pliocene Kansal Formation (Pinjor zone). The extreme enamel complexity characterizing Procynocephalus may derive from consumption of underground storage organs, or other foods with high grit loads. Foods consumed near ground level carry a heavy load of abrasive minerals possibly contributing to greater enamel surface complexity and textural fill volume.