Comparison of dental topography of marmosets and tamarins (Callitrichidae) to other platyrrhine primates using a novel freeware pipeline

de Vries, Dorien, Janiak, Mareike C., Batista, Romina, Boubli, Jean P., Goodhead, Ian B., Ridgway, Emma, Boyer, Doug M., St Clair, Elizabeth orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2762-8944 and Beck, Robin M. D. (2024) Comparison of dental topography of marmosets and tamarins (Callitrichidae) to other platyrrhine primates using a novel freeware pipeline. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 31 . ISSN 1064-7554

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Dental topographic metrics (DTMs), which quantify different aspects of the shape of teeth, are powerful tools for studying dietary adaptation and evolution in mammals. Current DTM protocols usually rely on proprietary software, which may be unavailable to researchers for reasons of cost. We address this issue in the context of a DTM analysis of the primate clade Platyrrhini (“New World monkeys”) by: 1) presenting a large comparative sample of scanned second lower molars (m2s) of callitrichids (marmosets and tamarins), previously underrepresented in publicly available datasets; and 2) giving full details of an entirely freeware pipeline for DTM analysis and its validation. We also present an updated dietary classification scheme for extant platyrrhines, based on cluster analysis of dietary data extracted from 98 primary studies. Our freeware pipeline performs equally well in dietary classification accuracy of an existing sample of platyrrhine m2s (excluding callitrichids) as a published protocol that uses proprietary software when multiple DTMs are combined. Individual DTMs, however, sometimes showed very different results in classification accuracies between protocols, most likely due to differences in smoothing functions. The addition of callitrichids resulted in high classification accuracy in predicting diet with combined DTMs, although accuracy was considerably higher when molar size was included (90%) than excluded (73%). We conclude that our new freeware DTM pipeline is capable of accurately predicting diet in platyrrhines based on tooth shape and size, and so is suitable for inferring probable diet of taxa for which direct dietary information is unavailable, such as fossil species.

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