International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 331–337 | Cite as

Mandibular ontogeny in the miocene great apeDryopithecus

  • Elwyn L. Simons
  • Werner Meinel


The type mandible of Dryopithecus fontani,Lartet 1856, has been discovered to be not fully adult. Its development corresponds in dental age to that of a 6-to 8-year-old chimpanzee. Because of its immaturity, a number of seemingly distinctive features of this mandible (some of which resemble hominids) would have been lost with full adulthood. Closed tooth rows, a recurved canine, and a vertical ascending mandibular ramus are related to the age of the specimen. They therefore do not foreshadow hominid characteristics. It is stressed that consideration of individual age is an important factor in interpreting the dentitions of fossil and extant hominoids.

Key words

Dentalage juvenile type Dryopithecus 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elwyn L. Simons
    • 1
  • Werner Meinel
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Anthropology and AnatomyDuke UniversityDurham
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and Comparative AnatomyUniversity of KasselWest Germany

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