Re: Canine Reduction

Ralph L Holloway (rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Wed, 22 Feb 1995 20:42:14 -0500

I'm not a tooth man, but I thought that the canines preventing lateral
jaw motion was no longer an accepted viewpoint, as manyb primates with
large canines do some amount of rotary chewing. For what it is worth, the
interested reader can check out Washburn's and my argument on canine
reduction from 1967 in AA: Tools and Teeth:some speculations regarding
canine reduction: Amer. Anthroop. 69:63-67, and 1968, A reply to
Professor Washburn, Amer. Anthrop. 70:101-106. I still believe that the
reduced canine has some relationship to selection for higher threshholds
to aggression, and increased sociality in early hominids, mediated in
part by endocrine-target tissue interactions, of a sort that led to
canine reductions. I have't revisited these speculationms for almost 3
decades, so please bring me up to date.
On Wed, 22 Feb 1995, SS51000 wrote:

> M. Hill tentatively raises the mastication hypothesis for canine
> reduction. J. Langdon, having admitted that the evolution of hominid
> intelligence is difficult and cannot be explained with certainty,
> concludes by pronouncing that side-to-side chewing *is* the reason for
> canine reduction! This hypothesis arguably is at least as problematic
> as the tool hypothesis but with none of the parsimonious impications
> of the latter. Why so open-minded on intelligence, but so dogmatic on
> canine reduction, John? --Bob Graber