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Differential mesowear in the maxillary and mandibular cheek dentition of some ruminants (Artiodactyla)

Tamara A. Franz-Odendaal and Thomas M. Kaiser
Annales Zoologici Fennici
Vol. 40, No. 5 (2003), pp. 395-410
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23735854
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Differential mesowear in the maxillary and mandibular cheek dentition of some ruminants (Artiodactyla)
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Abstract

The mesowear method assesses the dietary regime of herbivorous mammals based on the attrition/abrasion equilibrium by evaluating cusp shape and relief of upper second molars. The method has recently been extended to include four tooth positions, upper P4—M3, in equids. In this study we determine whether the method can be extended in ruminants by applying it to maxillary and mandibular dentitions of a browser, the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) and two mixed feeders, the oribi (Ourebia ourebi) and the musk ox (Ovibos moschatus). We find that including the upper third molar in addition to the upper second molar provides consistent mesowear classifications in these species. Lower dentitions of mixed feeders score significantly differently in terms of mesowear as compared with upper dentitions. We infer that adaptive optimization in differential anisodonty is related to the composition of the diet and should be mirrored in differential mesowear signals of adjoining upper and lower molars. Our results suggest that in mixed feeders, sharpness is maximized in upper teeth, whereas in specialized feeders this is not the case.

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