Dental microwear in laboratory primates: Insights into the complexity of dental microwear formation

Title

Dental microwear in laboratory primates: Insights into the complexity of dental microwear formation

Creator

Teaford M F; Laird M F; Ross C F; Taylor A B; Ungar P S; Vinyard C J

Publisher

American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Date

2019
2019-03

Description

Dental microwear analysis has been employed in studies of a wide range of modern and fossil animals, yielding many insights into the biology/ecology of those taxa. Paleoanthropological studies have produced both expected and unexpected results (e.g., comparisons of South and East African robust australopithecines). Some critics have suggested that, because exogenous grit is harder than organic materials in food, grit should have an overwhelming impact on dental microwear patterns.

To shed light on this issue, feeding experiments were conducted on laboratory capuchin monkeys [Sapajus apella] with dental impressions taken before and after each feeding session. The food was an confectionary gelatin (“Jell-O”) prepared with less water to make it stiffer, and it was laced with specific amounts of aluminum silicate pumice to simulate the presence of grit. Resultant casts were analyzed by SEM and confocal microscopy. We asked two main questions: (1) would new microwear features be formed in the course of single feeding bouts, and (2) would there be any changes in dental microwear texture as a result of the presence of the grit in these feeding experiments?

Initial results showed that no new features and no changes in dental microwear texture were detected. These findings suggest that the impact of exogenous grit on dental microwear is the result of dynamic, complex interactions among many factors including the material properties of both the food and the grit, grit load and amount of time spent feeding.

Funding was provided by National Science Foundation (NSF-BCS-1440542) and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists Cobb Professional Development Program.

Subject

Anthropology; Evolutionary Biology

Identifier

n/a

Format

Journal Article

URL Address

n/a

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Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

245-245

Volume

168

NEOMED College

NEOMED College of Medicine

NEOMED Department

Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

Citation

Teaford M F; Laird M F; Ross C F; Taylor A B; Ungar P S; Vinyard C J, “Dental microwear in laboratory primates: Insights into the complexity of dental microwear formation,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed January 20, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/8164.

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