Extracting life history information from mineralized hard tissues of extant and extinct species is an ongoing challenge in evolutionary and conservation studies. Primary lamellar bone is a mineralized tissue with multidien periodicity that begins deposition prenatally and continues until adulthood albeit with concurrent resorption, thus maintaining a record spanning several years of an individual’s life. Here, we use field-emission scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis to measure the relative concentrations of calcium, phosphorous, oxygen, magnesium and sodium in the femora of seven rhesus macaque with known medical and life-history information. We find that the concentration of these elements distinguishes parous from nulliparous females; that in females calcium and phosphorus are lower in bone formed during reproductive events; and that significant differences in relative magnesium concentration correlate with breastfeeding in infants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas