The impact of hybridization on upper first molar shape in robust capuchins (Sapajus nigritus x S. libidinosus)

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Emma Kozitzky


To better understand the impact of hybridization on development and morphology, I analyze an understudied phenotype in hybrid morphology research: tooth shape. I apply a 2D geometric morphometric approach to compare variation in first upper molar cusp tip positions and crown outline shape among 31 crested capuchins (Sapajus nigritus), 37 bearded capuchins (S. libidinosus), and 44 hybrids (S. nigritus x S. libidinosus). A principal components analysis shows that group membership accounts for a significantly greater proportion of variance along the first major axis of M1 shape variation than does allometry. While most hybrids have S. nigritus-like M1s, several possess a transgressive M1 shape not observed in either parental species. Procrustes distances are greater in hybrids compared to the parental capuchins, and two-block partial least squares analyses show that hybrids exhibit weaker integration between cusp tip positions and crown outline shape. These results demonstrate that hybridization generates novel M1 shapes and support the hypothesis that destabilized development results in elevated phenotypic variance in hybrids. Further studies of dental shape in hybrid primates will generate important data for on-going efforts to detect potential hybrids in the hominin fossil record and to understand the evolutionary outcomes of anthropogenic hybridization.