Although camelids, in general, are characterized by uncomplicated, conservative occlusal wear patterns in the cheek teeth, attention to details can sometimes reveal important differences among taxa. In this paper, sequential wear stages in the posterior deciduous premolars and molars are described and compared between the brachydont Miocene camelids Miolabis princetonianus and “Oxydactylus” sp., cf. “O”. longirostris and the hypsodont Miocene camelid Michenia sp. It is found that there are differences between the brachydont camelids on the one hand, and the hypsodont camelid on the other, in the overall occlusal wear patterns, the order in which the molar lophs and lophids become linked, and the relative age (wear stage) at which these connections are established. In the lower teeth, Michenia sp. shows early formation of lophids and reduction of fossettids in the DP4, M1, and M2 compared to M. princetonianus and “O.” sp., cf. “O”. longirostris. Also, the protoconid-hypoconid lophid is the last to form on the M2–3 of Michenia sp., whereas in the brachydont camelids the metaconid-entoconid lophid is the last to form. In the upper teeth, Michenia sp. again shows earlier completion of cross lophs in DP4, M1, and M2 than in M. princetonianus and “O.” sp., cf. “O”. longirostris. Also, in M1–3 the metaloph is completed prior to the completion of the protoloph and hypoloph, whereas in the brachydont camelids the protoloph and hypoloph are completed before the metaloph. Minor differences are also evident between Miolabis princetonianus and “O.” sp., cf. “O”. longirostris in the sequential changes in wear patterns. Wear patterns in some other camelid taxa are briefly compared and found to exhibit (1) features common to brachydont or hypsodont camelids, but also, (2) minor differences, of possible taxonomic use, between each other.
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Vol. 2004 • No. 36