Evaluation of enamel prism patterns in the determination of phylogenetic relationships of primate species
McPeak Maureen (Student of anthropology)
MetadataShow full item record
The use of enamel prism patterns in determining phylogenetic relationships between primate taxa is investigated in this thesis. Representative samples were taken from fifteen primate taxa, etched with acid and photographed with a Scanning Electron Microscope. The resulting data were used to group the taxa into five prism pattern designations. By comparing prism size, shape, alignment and distribution, it was determined that the taxonomic clusters were not natural groupings as compared to those found by traditional morphological and molecular methods. Only the group of Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes and Gorilla gorilla could be identified as a phylogenetically close group. Because other groupings did not show this consistency, it appears that shape alone is not a reliable phylogenetic indicator. Until extensive work is done on this method and standard shapes are defined and uniformly applied, prism shape cannot be used confidently in primate taxonomic studies.