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Response to Whos Tooth is it Anyway Julie Kazimiroff dental professor at NYU College of Dentistry attempts to cover the issue of cusp patterns with respect to relatedness among the hominoids She starts off by posing a question regarding the 5 cusp Y-5 molar pattern present in extant primates To begin with she emphasizes the importance of teeth to phylogenetics as they are often times all that survives from an organism DNA is brought into the paper to explain how testing techniques have been utilized to enhance the answering of relatedness questions particularly in terms of chimps apes and humans In her title she mentions Dryopithecus an early dental ape thought to be an early hominoid Dryopithecus possessed the Y-5 cusp pattern found among the extant primates and this paper seems to indicate that it actually may be the origination of such a pattern in terms of the beginning of the hominoid lineages In tracking an answer to the question posed it appears that it lies in the study of mammalian molarization It was here that a pattern emerged which seemed to define what was characteristic of primates the Dryopithecus pattern that of the Y-5 cusp pattern In tracing the pattern it was determined that it could be found in not only extant groups of primates but in extinct groups such as those ancestral to the great apes and gibbons also By combining the fossil evidence provided by the molar pattern data with the molecular data it was determined that the gibbons was the earliest branch of the Hominoidea and all primates are related through this pattern The article goes beyond primates in addressing the question however as reference to reptiles and the idea that their triangular molars 3 cusps are considered to be principle cusps that have evolved over time as mammals began to emerge carrying and modifying the cusps
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