Protuberance or fossa on the lateral surface of the mandible in primates

Shintaro Kondo, Munetaka Naitoh, Masanobu Matsuno, Eisaku Kanazawa, Masanaru Takai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In order to clarify the morphological characteristics and function of the protuberance and/or fossa on the lateral surface of the mandible, we examined 778 mandibles of 9 genera, 19 species of non-human primates. Both protuberance and fossa were found in Macaca, Chlorocebus, and Cercocebus at frequencies ranging from 0% to 60%. The protuberance was composed of compact bone and was similar to the mandibular torus in humans. A well-developed protuberance extended from the fourth premolar to third molar region, and was situated at the central part of the mandibular body, or continued on the oblique line. Sometimes the protuberance localized on the mandibular base. A deep and large fossa was found in all individuals of Papio, Theropithecus, and Mandrillus, and the bone width was thin in the center of the fossa. The fossa extended from the third premolar to the second molar region, and the deepest area was the first molar region. In Macaca, Chlorocebus, and Cercocebus, the curvature of the external table of the mandible created a fossa. In Colobus, and Hylobates, the external surface of the mandible looked concave because of the thickened mandibular base. These concavo-convex structures have some biological functions and represent an adaptive change for mastication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Anatomy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Computed tomography
  • Functional anatomy
  • Mandibular fossa
  • Mastication
  • Protuberance


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