A ROOIELS CHACMA BABOON – DENTAL HEALTH OBSERVATIONS


OVERVIEW

Rooiels is a small seaside village situated approx. 75 kilometers of Cape Town on the eastern shores of False Bay. Rooiels is home to a troop of about 20 to 25 Chacma baboons.

During one of our many walks through the Rooiels Fynbos we came across an old, partially buried skeleton of a Chacma baboon. With a lot of care, we collected all the bones, skull and were very fortunate, after some serious searching, to find all the baboon's teeth.

The only major bone that was missing was the hip bone. We searched but could not find it.
While assembling the skull and inserting all the teeth in their correct positions, we realized that judging by the size of the canine teeth in both the upper and lower jaw, that we had found the skeleton of a female baboon. There were also some very interesting aspects of the skull, jawbone and teeth that needed much more analysis.
We consulted various medical professionals that gave us some great professional insight, and even though we are not scientists, we believe that we can provide some logical insight and observations regarding the dental health of this female baboon before she died.

SOME DATA THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST

Sex of baboon  Female
Estimated age before death  15 to 20 years
Age of skeleton when discovered  5 to 10 years

Note : Due to the partial exposure of sections of the skull and teeth to the sun and weather, certain parts of the skull and certain teeth appear whiter than the rest. The whiter sections have been bleached by the sun.

ASSESSMENT OF THE DENTAL HEALTH OF A FEMALE ROOIELS BABOON

BACK TEETH 


AThe LHS  teeth of the upper jawbone appear normal and healthy
BA badly decayed RHS upper molar (3rd from back) has caused an abscess in the jawbone directly above the decayed tooth. The abscess was so severe that it appears to have perforated the upper jawbone.
CThe upper LHS jawbone appears normal and healthy.
DThe entire RHS of the upper jawbone appears to have been badly affected the abscess in the jawbone directly above the decayed tooth (B). Possibility of serious gum disease also existed.
EThe LHS lower teeth are very badly worn. The LHS lower teeth are also in very poor condition with what appears to have been a traumatic abscess at the back of the LHS lower jawbone. (See later info, pics and comment of observations).  Judging by the amount of wear of the lower LHS teeth, the baboon appears to have preferred to use the LHS of her mouth to chew. The upper LHS teeth are worn but normal and the upper LHS jawbone appears normal.
FThe RHS teeth appear to be worn but are normal except for the item B above.  While the lower jawbone appears reasonably normal, the upper jawbone has been affected by the abscess mentioned in item D above.


FRONT TEETH

It was noted that the upper and lower jaws did not meet  correctly and that the lower jaw was skewed (offset) to the RHS (see view from front)

G LH & G RHUpper canine teeth. Both G LH & G RH  are in correct position and healthy                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
H 1 to 44 upper incisors in correct position and healthy
J LH & J RHLower canine teeth. J LH is longer than its upper opposite canine due to the baboon having a bottom jaw bone that was skewed to the RHS. This tooth is therefore longer due to no wearing or grinding with opposite upper teeth (see view from front).
K 1 to 44 lower incisor teeth with K 4 skewed to the RHS and longer due to no wearing or grinding with opposing upper teeth (see view from front).


LOWER JAWBONE AND TEETH

When we compared the RHS lower jaw to the LHS lower jaw we found some serious differences.