Fieldwork in the Yuanmou Basin of southern China has uncovered a large assemblage of late Miocene hominoid fossils assigned to Lufengpithecus hudienensis. Two mandibular first molars from this species were made available for histological analysis as part of a larger ongoing study on the ontogeny of dental development in Miocene to Recent hominoids. Results are compared with published and unpublished data on tooth growth in a wide range of extant and extinct hominoids. The Yuanmou molars are smaller than those of Lufengpithecus lufengensis and have markedly shorter crown formation times, overlapping slightly with Pan, but most similar to Proconsul and Dryopithecus. In other aspects of molar development (including enamel extension rates and enamel thickness), L. hudienensis shows similarities with all extant hominoids, in particular, Pongo. Ultimately, charting the ontogeny of molar crown formation may help shed light on the relationship of Lufengpithecus hudienensis to orang utans, and other Miocene to Recent hominoids.
- Dental development
- Incremental lines
- Miocene hominoids
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics