Introduction

Lemur dental morphology has been characterized by a number of workers (e.g., Godfrey et al., 2004a; Kay et al., 1978; Milton, 1978; Sauther et al., 2001; Schwartz and Tattersall, 1985; Seligsohn, 1977; e.g., Seligsohn and Szalay, 1974, 1978; Strait, 1993; Tattersall, 1982; Yamashita, 1998a,b) who have investigated these teeth from descriptive, functional, developmental, and ecological perspectives. In this chapter, we discuss how the external environment leaves an imprint on lemur dentitions, either through adaptations to the physical requirements of specific environments or through environmental effects during the lifetime of the animal. We also discuss the patterns of intraspecific dental variation in selected lemurs, and comment on the role of this variability in lemur taxonomy.

Frank P. Cuozzo • Department of Anthropology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202 Nayuta Yamashita • Department of Cell & Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033

In addition, we briefly review the relationship between dental microstructure, growth and development, and ecology.

The chapter begins with an introductory section describing the major issues that concern us from functional and ecological perspectives, including a brief review of dental development and microstructure. We then discuss anterior and posterior teeth in separate sections, each describing basic morphology, functional morphology, and indicators of dental health. Throughout this chapter, we refer to examples from the lemur community at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, southern Madagascar (see Sussman and Rakotozafy, 1994, for a description of the reserve at Beza Mahafaly), a location at which each of us has conducted long-term research.

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