The Microstructure of Primate Dental Enamel

  • Alan Boyde
  • Lawrence Martin


Consideration of recent key papers suggests that examination f enamel prism cross sectional shape yields significant information related to the taxonomy of extant and extinct Hominoidea and other primates. In particular, it has been suggested that different prism packing patterns exist within the Hominoidea and that these can be used to differentiate between man’s family, Hominidae, and the great apes (Gantt et al., 1977; Gantt, 1979, 1981), although Vrba and Grine (1978a, 1978b) disagree with this conclusion. There is obviously considerable potential interest in the study of enamel prism packing patterns, and enamel microstructure in general, in fossil primates because enamel is the only tissue which can remain essentially unchanged by the processes of fossilization, as it is almost completely mineralized in vivo. Thus differences in the enamel prism packing patterns between man and the great apes would be of considerable general use in recognising the first member of man’s family, and ore specifically for helping to assess Sivapithecus (including “Ramapithecus”)(Kay, 1982; Martin and Andrews, 1982).


Dental Pulp Enamel Organ Enamel Structure Enamel Prism Enamel Crystal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Boyde
    • 1
  • Lawrence Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Embryology Department of AnthropologyUniversity CollegeLondonUK

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