Endocranial suture closure in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Dean Falk, Lyle Konigsberg, R. Criss Helmkamp, James Cheverud, Michael Vannier, Charles Hildebolt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endocasts from skulls of 330 rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) of known age are scored for closure of nine bilateral and three unilateral sutures or segments of sutures. A variety of tests reveals a strong relationship between age and stages of suture closure, although increasingly broad confidence intervals prevent sutures from being very useful for precisely aging older macaques. The order in which endosutures begin to close, as well as that in which closure is finally achieved, is determined for macaques, and these sequences compared to those for endosutures of humans (Todd and Lyon, 1924). The basilar suture is the earliest to close, while the masto‐occipital and rostral and caudal squamosal sutures achieve closure quite late in both species. On the other hand, humans and macaques differ in their schedules for the sphenofrontal suture and in the initiation of closure for the rostral portion of the squamosal suture. Two sutures close significantly sooner on the right than on the left side (the rostral squamosal and masto‐occipital) and asymmetry favoring closure of the right lateral lambdoid suture also approaches significance at the 0.05 level. No sutures close significantly sooner on the left side. It is suggested that macaque sutures may close from the inside out, that endosutures are more sensitive than ectosutures for detecting sequences in which cranial sutures begin to close, and that directional asymmetries in suture closure of macaques may be related to minor asymmetries in brain/skull shape (petalias).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-428
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Age determination
  • Asymmetries
  • Cranium
  • Endocasts
  • Petalias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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