Abstract # 217:

Scheduled for Monday, August 28, 2017 01:15 PM-01:30 PM: (Grand Ballroom) Oral Presentation


S. C. McFarlin3,4, J. Galbany3, M. M. Vakiener3, D. Abavandimwe5, M. R. Cranfield1, W. Eckardt5, A. Mudakikwa2, F. Ndagijimana5 and T. S. Stoinski5
1George Washington University, Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, Science and Engineering Hall, 800 22nd Street NW, Ste 6000, Washington, DC 20052, USA, 2Rwanda Development Board - Tourism and Conservation, 3George Washington University, 4Division of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 5Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
     Dental development provides a basis for assessing maturational status within populations, and correlates with life history across broadly comparative contexts. Current knowledge of great ape dental development is largely based on chimpanzees. However, Virunga mountain gorillas are of particular interest because they are comparatively accelerated in key life history traits, a pattern often attributed to their increased folivory and reduced ecological risk. We assessed gingival tooth emergence in known age Virunga mountain gorillas at the Karisoke Research Center, Rwanda. We made 272 photographic observations of 83 living gorillas (N=51 M, 31 F, 1 unk; 0.0-15.0 years) over three years. Other individuals were assessed at necropsy (N=8) or from skeletons (N=42). Virunga gorillas had completely erupted deciduous dentitions at 1.2 years. Midpoint age at maxillary molar emergence was 3.2 years for M1, 6.7 years for M2, and 10.4 years for M3. One 8.6-year-old individual had erupting mandibular M3s. Midpoint age at maxillary canine emergence was 8.0 and 9.4 years in females and males, respectively. Tooth emergence timing in wild Virunga gorillas overlapped considerably with available data for chimpanzees and western gorillas, but in some respects appeared accelerated as for other life history traits. Ongoing studies are exploring links between tooth emergence, tooth crown and root development, and life history in this population. NSF (BCS 0852866, 0964944, 1520221), NGS (8486-08), The Leakey Foundation, The Wenner Gren Foundation.