Scanning Microscopy


This is a description of microwear and striae of Retzius of canine teeth of wild-caught female Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata) from Oita Takasakiyama, Kyushu. Micrographs were taken of high resolution casts using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Before the casts were made, the diet of the captive monkeys was water-softened for three or four days. This softened diet probably added little wear to the surfaces of the teeth. These animals are part of a sample used in a previous report published in this journal. Others have observed that wild Japanese monkeys eat hard foods (such as grasshoppers, cicads etc.) in the summer season. They also bite the hard bark of trees in order to obtain soft parts of buds in the winter season. The author previously reported that the wild female Japanese monkeys from Oita Takasakiyama showed many thick striations and large pits on the occlusal surfaces of the second mandibular molars, and noted that these microfeatures categorized these samples in the group of hard-object feeders as defined by Teaford. In this study canine teeth are examined. Three were heavily worn, exposing patterns related to the structure of the enamel. Two canines had prism relief on the heavily worn surfaces. Some of the relief seem to be related to the striae of Retzius. These features may be ascribed to excessive grinding (bruxism). These findings are presented as direct evidence of the effect feeding behavior has on the canine teeth of wild Japanese monkeys.

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