Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wendy Dirks
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Weaning conflict may represent an evolutionary conflict of interest between par- ent and offspring, an honest signal of need on the part of a weanling, or both. Accentu- ated lines visible in histological sections of teeth are indicators of stress during enamel formation and have been hypothesised to form in baboon teeth during weaning. We analysed growth increments in 5 tooth sections from 2 Ugandan baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis), using polarised light microscopy, to determine when stresses oc- curred during the weaning process. Dietary transitions were reconstructed using nor- malised strontium intensities (Sr/Ca) in enamel. Accentuated lines were cross-matched between teeth from the same animal and plotted by month. The highest frequency of stress was experienced at around 6 months in 1 baboon, coinciding with an inferred re- duction in suckling frequency, and at 11 months in another, coinciding with the inferred cessation of suckling. Because accentuated lines appear to indicate weaning stress at dietary transitions, weaning conflict may represent an honest signal of need on the part of the weanling.
Author(s): Dirks W, Humphrey LT, Dean MC, Jeffries TE
Publication type: Article
Journal: Folia Primatologica
Print publication date: 03/12/2010
ISSN (print): 0015-5713
ISSN (electronic): 1421-9980
Publisher: S. Karger AG
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