Date of Award


Degree Type



Biological Sciences

Director of Thesis

Adam Hartstone-Rose

First Reader

Michael Couch

Second Reader

Michael Couch


Bite force analysis is important the examination of the evolutionary factors that have shaped the masticatory apparatus. Unfortunately, in primates, empirically measured bite force is largely unavailable because of the invasive nature of the procedure. Because of this, we have estimated bite force in a large sample across the primate order at three different realistic bite points along the tooth row: the first maxillary incisor, the maxillary canine, and the paracone of the first maxillary molar. Here, we model bite force by combining measured physiological crosssectional area of the jaw adductors from Hartstone-Rose and colleagues (2017) with osteological measurements from the same specimen. We did this by treating the jaw as a third-class lever as has been done by Hartstone-Rose and colleagues (2012). Our findings at all bite points suggest that there is no statistically significant difference in scaling of bite force based on diet or suborder. These findings contrast the findings of positive allometry in the Catarrhine suborder for the bite force proxies of muscle mass and muscle PCSA by Hartstone-Rose and colleagues (2017). This difference is likely due to the role of leverage in bite force production. PCSA has been evolutionarily driven up to account of inadequacies in bite point or muscle leverages in order to produce forces necessary for food consumption. The lack of dietary signals seen in the sample is likely due to the generalized dentition of primate species and the variation within species’ diets.

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© 2017, Ashley Deutsch