This study investigates the relationship between dietary toughness and craniofacial variation in two groups of savanna baboons. Standard craniofacial and malocclusion data were collected from a captive, soft-diet experiment group (n=24) and a sample of wild-captured baboons, raised on tougher, natural foods (n=19). We tested the hypothesis that in the absence of normal masticatory stress experienced during the consumption of wild foods, the captive baboons would exhibit higher levels of facial and dental structural irregularities. Principal component analysis indicates separation of the two samples. The soft-diet sample exhibits significantly shorter palates, greater variability in palate position, and higher frequencies of occlusal irregularities that correlate with the shorter palates. Results offer further support that long-term dietary chewing stresses have a measurable effect on adult craniofacial variation.



Link to publisher version