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Masticatory loading and bone adaptation in the supraorbital torus of developing macaques

Kupczik, K.; Dobson, C. A.; Dobson, Catherine; Crompton, R. H.; Phillips, R.; Fagan, Michael; Oxnard, C. E.; Fagan, M. J.; O'Higgins, P.


K. Kupczik

C. A. Dobson

Catherine Dobson

R. H. Crompton

R. Phillips

Michael Fagan

C. E. Oxnard

M. J. Fagan

P. O'Higgins


Research on the evolution and adaptive significance of primate craniofacial morphologies has focused on adult, fully developed individuals. Here, we investigate the possible relationship between the local stress environment arising from masticatory loadings and the emergence of the supraorbital torus in the developing face of the crab‐eating macaque Macaca fascicularis. By using finite element analysis (FEA), we are able to evaluate the hypothesis that strain energy density (SED) magnitudes are high in subadult individuals with resulting bone growth in the supraorbital torus. We developed three micro‐CT‐based FEA models of M. fascicularis skulls ranging in dental age from deciduous to permanent dentitions and validated them against published experimental data. Applied masticatory muscle forces were estimated from physiological cross‐sectional areas of macaque cadaveric specimens. The models were sequentially constrained at each working side tooth to simulate the variation of the bite point applied during masticatory function. Custom FEA software was used to solve the voxel‐based models and SED and principal strains were computed. A physiological superposition SED map throughout the face was created by allocating to each element the maximum SED value from each of the load cases. SED values were found to be low in the supraorbital torus region throughout ontogeny, while they were consistently high in the zygomatic arch and infraorbital region. Thus, if the supraorbital torus arises to resist masticatory loads, it is either already adapted in each of our subadult models so that we do not observe high SED or a lower site‐specific bone deposition threshold must apply.


Kupczik, K., Dobson, C. A., Crompton, R. H., Phillips, R., Oxnard, C. E., Fagan, M. J., & O'Higgins, P. (2009). Masticatory loading and bone adaptation in the supraorbital torus of developing macaques. American journal of physical anthropology, 139(2), 193-203.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 14, 2008
Online Publication Date Dec 2, 2008
Publication Date 2009-06
Journal American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Print ISSN 0002-9483
Electronic ISSN 1096-8644
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 139
Issue 2
Pages 193-203
Keywords Anatomy; Anthropology
Public URL