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Developmental instability in wild Nigerian olive baboons (Papio anubis)

Hoover, Kara C. and Gelipter, Emily and Sommer, Volker and Kovarovic, Kris (2021) 'Developmental instability in wild Nigerian olive baboons (Papio anubis).', PeerJ., 9 . e11832.


Background Developmental instability in archaeological samples can be detected through analysis of skeletal and dental remains. During life, disruptions to biological internal homeostasis that occur during growth and development redirect bodily resources to returning to homeostasis and away from normal processes such as symmetrical development. Because dental enamel does not remodel in life, any deviations from normal development are left behind. Even subtle disturbances to developmental trajectory may be detected in asymmetrical development of traits, specifically a random variation in sides termed fluctuating asymmetry. Human dental fluctuating asymmetry studies are common, but here we investigate the permanent dentition of a non-human primate Papio anubis, for potential fluctuating asymmetry relative to sex, weaning, and reproductive maturity. The sample stems from an outlier population that lives in the wettest and most humid habitat of any studied baboon group. Methods The skulls of adult baboons were collected after their natural death in Gashaka Gumti National Park, Nigeria. The permanent dentition of antimeric teeth (paired) were measured for maximum length and breadth using standard methods. The metrics were analyzed to assess the presence of fluctuating asymmetry in adult permanent mandibular and maxillary dentition. Measurement error and other forms of asymmetry (antisymmetry, directional asymmetry) were considered and dental measures expressing true fluctuating asymmetry were used to address three research questions. Results Males exhibit greater fluctuating asymmetry than females, suggesting that males experience greater overall instability during the developmental period. While weaning is not more stressful than other life history stages for males and females (using the first molar fluctuating asymmetry index as a proxy compared to other teeth), it is more stressful for females than males. The onset of reproduction is also not more stressful than other life history stages for males and females (using the third molar fluctuating asymmetry index as a proxy compared to other teeth), but it is more stressful for males than females. We explore possible explanations for these findings in the discussion.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Date accepted:30 June 2021
Date deposited:04 August 2021
Date of first online publication:30 July 2021
Date first made open access:04 August 2021

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