Morphological Integration of the Modern Human Mandible during OntogenyReport as inadecuate

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International Journal of Evolutionary BiologyVolume 2011 2011, Article ID 545879, 11 pages

Research ArticleDepartment of Math and Science, Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City Campus, Iowa City, IA 52240, USA

Received 16 September 2010; Revised 3 January 2011; Accepted 24 February 2011

Academic Editor: Darren Curnoe

Copyright © 2011 Joshua M. Polanski. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Craniofacial integration is prevalent in anatomical modernity research. Little investigation has been done on mandibular integration. Integration patterns were quantified in a longitudinal modern human sample of mandibles. This integration pattern is one of modularization between the alveolar and muscle attachment regions, but with age-specific differences. The ascending ramus and nonalveolar portions of the corpus remain integrated throughout ontogeny. The alveolar region is dynamic, becoming modularized according to the needs of the mandible at a particular developmental stage. Early in ontogeny, this modularity reflects the need for space for the developing dentition; later, modularity is more reflective of mastication. The overall pattern of modern human mandibular integration follows the integration pattern seen in other mammals, including chimpanzees. Given the differences in craniofacial integration patterns between humans and chimpanzees, but the similarities in mandibular integration, it is likely that the mandible has played the more passive role in hominin skull evolution.

Author: Joshua M. Polanski



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