Severe temporomandibular arthritis and multiple dental abscesses in a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium

Frank L'Engle Williams


A chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) presents extreme bilateral lipping of the mandibular condyle and glenoid fossa of the temporal bone which formed subsequent to skeletal maturation.  The individual also exhibits two large mandibular abscesses, between right M1 and M2, and between left M2 and M3, a small maxillary abscess located on the lingual surface of the right canine, and several periapical and periodontal abscesses on the premolars and incisors.  It is possible that there is a relationship between these pathologies, such as a pre-maturation injury or fall to the mental region which could have resulted in a weakening of the alveolus and ultimately extreme periodontal disease.  Another possibility is that these pathologies have different etiologies, including the molar and canine abscesses.  From macroscopic and radiographic analysis, it is proposed that the formation of the mandibular molar abscesses formed soon after dental maturation, but that the other abscesses and lipping of the temporomandibular complex occurred later as the individual approached middle adulthood.


Democratic Republic of Congo; mandibular condyle; glenoid fossa; alveolus; granulomata

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