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Growth Layers in Dental Cement for Determining the Age of Red Deer (Cervus elaphus L.)
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jun., 1967), pp. 279-293
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2912
Page Count: 16
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1. Growth layers in dental cement of red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) were studied in samples of material from both sexes, taken throughout the year in various parts of Scotland, and from a limited amount of known-age material (twenty-two animals of which only two were older than 3.5 years). 2. The lower first molar, the first permanent tooth, was the most convenient to use and it was sectioned to expose the layers in the cement pad (under the crown) for viewing by reflected light under a low-power binocular dissecting microscope. 3. Cement comprises broad layers rich in cementocytes, associated with the summer/autumn period of growth, separated by narrower layers deficient in cementocytes, corresponding with the period of winter/early spring food restriction. Some stags also showed a narrow winter-like layer corresponding with the mating season (rutting layers). 4. Seasonal changes in body condition due to changes in diet appear the best explanation for the annual pattern of cement growth, but other factors may be involved. 5. The number of broad white (cementocyte rich) layers found in first molar cement pads mostly gives the correct age in years. Other teeth can also give the age using a correction factor appropriate to each. The present results indicate that the method may be less effective with animals showing irregular or less seasonal variations in growth.
Journal of Animal Ecology © 1967 British Ecological Society