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Leaf mechanical properties strongly influence leaf lifespan, plant-herbivore interactions, litter decomposition and nutrient cycling, but global patterns in their interspecific variation and underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. We synthesize data across the three major measurement methods, permitting the first global analyses of leaf mechanics(More)
PURPOSE To elucidate the characteristics and location of the supraorbital and frontal exits of the supraorbital nerve in Chinese skulls and to compare these findings with other ethnic populations. METHODS The anatomy of the supraorbital nerve exits was studied in 97 adult Chinese skulls (194 orbits). The characteristics and location of the supraorbital(More)
Australopithecus africanus is an early hominin (i.e., human relative) believed to exhibit stress-reducing adaptations in its craniofacial skeleton that may be related to the consumption of resistant food items using its premolar teeth. Finite element analyses simulating molar and premolar biting were used to test the hypothesis that the cranium of A.(More)
Despite the potential for changes during transit or preservation, the physicochemical properties of leaves are typically measured in a laboratory setting. A suite of laboratory methods adapted for use in the field is described here. The equipment is portable and operable in remote environments. Each technique has been validated against laboratory standards(More)
BACKGROUND AND AIMS There has been little previous work on the toughness of the laminae of monocots in tropical lowland rain forest (TLRF) despite the potential importance of greater toughness in inhibiting herbivory by invertebrates. Of 15 monocot families with >100 species in TLRF, eight have notably high densities of fibres in the lamina so that high(More)
A number of living primates feed part-year on seemingly hard food objects as a fallback. We ask here how hardness can be quantified and how this can help understand primate feeding ecology. We report a simple indentation methodology for quantifying hardness, elastic modulus, and toughness in the sense that materials scientists would define them. Suggested(More)
Broad-edged 'spatulate' upper and lower incisors are distinctive of catarrhines and platyrrhines who use them in various ways to peel fruits, remove bark, and strip leaves from branches. The incisors of modern humans not only control the bite size of foods during ingestion, but often grip items in a number of non-food related tasks. Such uses have long been(More)
The mechanical properties of plant foods play an important role in the feeding process, being one of many criteria for food acceptance or rejection by primates. One of the simplest justifications for this statement is the general finding that primates tend to avoid foods with high fiber. Although fiber is largely tasteless, odorless, and colorless, it(More)
This review summerizes recent approaches to the physiology of the masticatory system in humans that aim to understand how the process is influenced by the material properties of foods. The centerpiece is a group of experiments that show that the rate of breakdown of food in human mastification depends principally on the combination of two mechanical(More)
One of the defining characteristics of humans, one that could also explain our species' success, is probably our ability to cook food. A brief review of the literature suggests several adaptations of the mouth can be interpreted to support this. All probably enhance the efficiency of the physical treatment of food in the mouth.