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New Research on Primates Aims to Broaden Knowledge of Dental Development and Diversity

The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of $630,444 to Kathleen Paul, PhD, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas, to conduct comprehensive research on the dental genetic architecture of two primate species: tamarins and macaques. Paul’s team aims to use this information to advance bioanthropological practice, particularly in reconstructing evolutionary processes and understanding stress and illness experiences through teeth analysis. The research will be conducted without the use of live animals; instead, skeletonized samples from known lineage collections will be scanned and studied. These collections include teeth and skulls from long-term monkey colonies, facilitating multi-generational studies. Teeth, abundant in the fossil record due to their high mineral content, offer valuable insights to paleoanthropologists. However, challenges exist in accurately reconstructing evolutionary relationships. Paul’s team plans to address these challenges by employing advanced imaging techniques to examine tooth variation, aiming to understand the genetic mechanisms driving dental diversity and development. Click here to read more.

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