Anterior Palate Depth

This character is of functional and developmental significance because it will be affected by (1) masticatory demands; (2) cranial base angulation; and (3) requirements of maintaining an appropriate orbital horizon (which will have an impact on cranial base and palate floor angulation) (see D.E. Lieberman et al., 2001). As such, the origins of this feature are quite complex. A shallow anterior palate, defined by the palate grading posteriorly from the base of the incisors as a flat surface or in which there is a slight depression anterior to the incisive foramen (= 0), is observed in Kenyapithecus, Gorilla, Pan, the "anamensis group," Praeanthropus, the "garhi group," species of Paranthropus, and H. habilis (Leakey, 1962; Cameron, 1997a, 1998; C.V. Ward et al., 2001; see partly Strait & Grine, 2001). Intermediate anterior palate depth (= 1) defines Dryopithecus (partly Cameron, 1997a, 1998). A deep anterior palate is defined by a sharp vertical rise before turning posteriorly at the incisive foramen (= 2) and is observed in Graecopithecus, Pongo, Australopithecus, both species of Kenyanthropus, H. ergaster, and H. sapiens (see Cameron, 1997a; Strait & Grine, 2001).

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