Prediction of Primate Diets from Molar Wear Patterns

  • Christine M. Janis


This paper presents an example of how cumulative patterns of molar wear are related to diet, and thus how such wear patterns might be used to predict diet in extant species, where the ecology is not known; or to reconstruct the probable diet of a fossil species. The molar wear patterns of three species of colobus monkeys whose diets are well known, and broadly classifiable as folivorous/frugivorous (see Kay and Covert, this volume), are compared. The three species differ, however, in the relative proportions of seeds, leaves and fruit taken in the diet, and these differences can be correlated with observed differences in gross wear in molars that are very similar in their unworn morphology.


Herbivorous Mammal Folivorous Diet Leaf Petiole Wear Facet Dental Wear 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine M. Janis
    • 1
  1. 1.Newnham College and Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland

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