Eustachian Process Development

The Eustachian process is a major attachment site for the tensor and levator palati muscles in the great apes. These muscles are responsible for pulling the soft palate upward and thus aid in closing the nose off from the mouth during swallowing and for changes in vocalization patterns (Aiello & Dean, 1990). This process is present (= 0) in Dryopithecus (Kordos & Begun, 1997), Pongo, Gorilla, Pan, Australopithecus, and P robustus, and is absent or only weakly developed (= 1) in all other taxa preserving this region.

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