Macaque pterygoid muscles: Internal architecture, fiber length, and cross-sectional area

Susan C. Antón

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Models of mastication require knowledge o f fiber lengths and physiological cross-sectional area (PCS), a proxy for muscle force. I dissected 36 medial pterygoid and 36 lateral pterygoid muscles from 30 adult females of 3 macaque species (Macaca fascicularis, M. mulatta, M. nemestrina) using gross and chemical techniques and calculated PCS. These macaques have mechanically similar dietary niches and exhibit no significant difference in muscle architecture or fiber length. Fiber length does not scale with body size (mass) for either total pterygoid muscle or for medial pterygoid muscle mass. However, fiber length scales weakly with lateral pterygoid muscle mass. In each case, differences in PCS among species result from differences in muscle mass not fiber length. Medial pterygoid PCS scales isometrically with body size; larger animals have greater force production capabilities. Medial and lateral pterygoid PCS scale positively allometrically with facial size; individuals with more prognathic faces and taller mandibular corpora have greater PCS, and hence force, values. This positive allometry counters the less efficient positioning of masticatory muscles in longer-faced macaques. PCS is only weakly correlated with bone proxies previously used to estimate muscle force. Thus, predictions of muscle force from bone parameters will entail large margins of error and should be used with caution.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)131-156
    Number of pages26
    JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2000


    • Allometry
    • Macaca
    • Mandible
    • Mastication
    • Muscle architecture

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Animal Science and Zoology


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