Traditional analyses of dental eruption pattern and enamel attrition suggested that the South African australopithecines exhibited a human-like or delayed maturation rate. Recent work has challenged this view by proposing that early hominids matured at a rate more like extant apes. We show that relative growth rates of ape and human dental structures are essentially similar, and that pattern differences in calcification stem from hominid incisor and canine reduction with concomitant facial reorganization. Pattern of dental development alone cannot be used to infer rates of somatic maturation.
Journal of Human Evolution
Simpson, Scott W.; Lovejoy, C. Owen; Meindl, Richard S. (1990). Hominoid Dental Maturation. Journal of Human Evolution 19(3) 285-297. doi: 10.1016/0047-2484(90)90070-R. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/anthpubs/60