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Chronological and geographical variations of Late Pleistocene/Holocene Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) based on molar measurements

Yuichiro Nishioka, Tomoko Anezaki, Mitsuo Iwamoto, Masanaru Takai

Chronological and geographical variations of the Late Pleistocene/Holocene Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) were examined on the basis of molar measurements between modern and fossil specimens. The fossil specimens were collected from late Pleistocene and early Holocene localities in Japan, and they were compared with the modern specimens. Dividing the modern specimens into eastern and western phylogeographical groups around 134°E boundary suggested by genetic studies, the mean of the molar size in the western (Chugoku and Kyushu) group is significantly smaller than that in the eastern one, although their variations are not correlated to geographical cline. Most late Pleistocene specimens in Honshu have buccolingually wider molars, and also the Holocene specimens from Gongendani-no-choana Cave in Kinki District and Tanegashima Is. have the similar characteristics. On the other hand, the Holocene specimens in Chugoku and Kyushu District are slightly smaller than the other fossil specimens, as large as the modern western group. These results suggested that there was a decreasing of molar size during the latest Pleistocene to early Holocene in Chugoku and/or Kyushu District. Consequently, we infer that the appearance of the molar size variation between eastern and western Japan is relevant to the phylogeographical pattern reported in genetics.

Honyurui Kagaku (Mammalian Science) 51(1) pp.1-17


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