Dental Perspectives on Human Evolution: State of the Art Research in Dental Paleoanthropology

Part of the series Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology pp 237-245

Of mice and monkeys: Quantitative genetic analyses of size variation along the dental arcade

  • L.J. HluskoAffiliated withDepartment of Integrative Biology, University of California Email author 
  • , M.C. MahaneyAffiliated withSouthwest National Primate Research Center and the Department of Genetics, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research

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We present preliminary results from quantitative genetic analyses of tooth size variation in two outbred pedigreed populations, baboons and mice. These analyses were designed to test the dental field theory as proposed by Butler (1939), that there are three fields within the dentition: incisor, canine, and molar. Specifically we estimated the genetic correlation between pairs of linear size measurements. Results from the baboon analyses suggest that there may also be a premolar field that is only partially independent of the molar field proposed by Butler (1939). Analyses of the mouse data indicate that for mice, size variation in the incisors appears to be genetically independent of molar size. If the field theory is correct, future analyses on incisor data for the baboons will return similar results of genetic independence. Circumstantial evidence from the fossil record suggests that there will be at least some degree of independence between the anterior and postcanine dentitions of primates.


quantitative genetics dental fields field theory dental patterning Papio hamadryas Mus