Mechanism of intraoral transport in macaques.

H. A. Franks, A. W. Crompton, R. Z. German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


All mammals have the same divisions of cyclic movement of tongue and hyoid during mastication: a protraction or forward phase that begins at minimum gape, and a retraction or return phase. Nonanthropoid mammals transport food from the oral cavity to the oropharynx during the return phase; food on the dorsal surface of the tongue moves distally while the tongue is retracted. Macaques, however, transport food during the protraction phase of tongue/hyoid movement. Food is squeezed posteriorly by contact between the tongue surface and the palate anterior to the food. This mechanism of transport is occasionally seen in nonanthropoid mammals when they are transporting liquids from the oral cavity to the oropharynx. It has, however, not been seen when these mammals transport solid food. One morphological basis for this difference is the reduction in height of the rugae of the palate of macaques. In most mammals these rugae are pronounced ridges that are able to hold food in place during protraction as the tongue slides forward beneath the food. Anthropoids and other mammals differ in the way they store food prior to swallowing. When macaques transport food to the oropharynx, usually they swallow in the next cycle, but always in the next 2 or 3 cycles. Most mammals transport and store food in the oropharynx for several cycles before a swallow clears that region of food. This behavior is correlated with differences in morphology of the oropharynx; anthropoids have reduced valleculae, the area in which other mammals store food prior to swallowing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology


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