Re: Canine teeth

3 Jun 1995 22:57:12 GMT

DaveB. wrote:
: In the few books that I've read, I've not come across any discussion of the
: function of canine teeth. To my knowledge, humans are the only primates
: without large canine teeth, certainly if you only consider apes. It looks
: like even early Australopithecines did not have extremely large canines, so
: I'm assuming that characteristic went away shortly after the split with
: chimps.

Canine teeth decrease in size with the sequence Ardipithecus ramidus
(which was fairly nominal for an African ape), A. afarensis, A.
africanus, H. habilis, H. erectus, H. sapiens. A. robustus and boisei were
comparable with H. sapiens. They seem to be weaponry and are particularly
important to species with sexual dimorphism.

: Do canine teeth serve a function related to diet, social interactions,
: defense against predators, something else, or some combination? Is there a
: high correlation between animals with large canines and some aspect of their
: lifestyles? Of course, then there's that thing about males usually (always?)
: having larger canines that females. I'm interested in any ideas.

Read Oxnard's 1987 book.

: Dave B.

Harry Erwin
PhD student in comp neurosci: "Glitches happen" & "Meaning is emotional"