Analyses of buccal tooth microwear have been used to trace dietary habits of modern hunter-gatherer populations. In these populations, the average den-sity and length of striations on the buccal surfaces of teeth are significantly cor-related with the abrasive potential of food items consumed. In non-human pri-mates, tooth microwear patterns on both occlusal and buccal wear facets have been thoroughly studied and the results applied to the characterization of dietary habits of fossil species. In this paper, we present inter- and intra-specific buccal microwear variability analyses in extant Cercopithecoidea (Cercopithecus mitis, C. neglectus, Chlorocebus aethiops, Colobus spp., Papio anubis) and Hominoidea (Gorilla gorilla, Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus). The results are tentatively compared to buccal microwear patterns of the Miocene fossils Dryopithecus and Oreopithecus. Significant differences in striation density and length are found among the fossil taxa studied and the extant primates, sug-gesting that buccal microwear can be used to identify dietary differences among taxa. The Dryopithecus buccal microwear pattern most closely resembles that of abrasive, tough plant foods consumers, such as the gorilla, in contrast to stud-ies of dental morphology that suggest a softer, frugivorous diet. Results for Ore-opithecus were equivocal, but suggest a more abrasive diet than that previously thought.

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