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Zygomatic Arch Cortical Area and Diet in Haplorhines

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The influence that various types of ingested foods have on the form (size and shape) of specific features of the masticatory system is an area in which many questions remain unanswered. The bony zygomatic arch, the focus of this study, is directly linked to the masticatory system because it serves as the anchor for the masseter muscle, a primary muscle of chewing and source of masticatory force. However, the influence of diet and the forces associated with different diet types on the arch's internal bone architecture is not well understood. Despite the breadth of work centered around the craniofacial complex and biomechanics of mastication, there is a need for further investigations into the functional relationships between specific bony features that experience high strains, (e.g., the zygomatic arch), and the masticatory forces generated by different diets (e.g., mechanically resistant versus non‐ mechanically resistant) across non‐human primates. A hypothesis and series of predictions assessing diet in relation to variability in cortical area distributions and values of section moduli (measures of bone strength) throughout the zygomatic arch were tested in a sample of haplorhine primates. Cortical area and measures of section moduli appear to track with the known masticatory strain distribution along the zygomatic arch. Pairwise comparisons between closely related taxa of different diets reveal significant differences in anterior cortical area and section moduli values. These results imply that differences in masticatory loading due to diet manifest in the zygomatic arch's internal bone structure. Anat Rec, 299:1789–1800, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Keywords: diet; evolution; zygoma; zygomatic arch

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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