Folivory or fruit/seed predation for Mesopithecus, an earliest colobine from the late Miocene of Eurasia?

Gildas Merceron, Jessica Scott, Robert S. Scott, Denis Geraads, Nikolai Spassov, Peter S. Ungar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Here we compare dental microwear textures from specimens of the fossil genus Mesopithecus (Cercopithecidae, Colobinae) from the late Miocene of Eastern Europe with dental microwear textures from four extant primate species with known dietary differences. Results indicate that the dental microwear textures of Mesopithecus differ from those of extant leaf eaters Alouatta palliata and Trachypithecus cristatus and instead resemble more closely those of the occasional hard-object feeders Cebus apella and Lophocebus albigena. Microwear texture data presented here in combination with results from previous analyses suggest that Mesopithecus was a widespread, opportunistic feeder that often consumed hard seeds. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that early colobines may have preferred hard seeds to leaves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)732-738
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume57
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology

Keywords

  • Cercopithecidae
  • Diet
  • Microwear
  • Neogene
  • Teeth

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