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Tooth wear in captive wild ruminant species differs from that of free-ranging conspecifics


Kaiser, T M; Brasch, J; Castell, J C; Schulz, E; Clauss, Marcus (2009). Tooth wear in captive wild ruminant species differs from that of free-ranging conspecifics. Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 74(6):425-437.

Abstract

The mesowear method evaluates the wear patterns of herbivore cheek teeth by visually evaluating the facet development of the occlusal surfaces. It thus allows classification of most herbivorous ungulates into browsers, grazers or intermediate feeders, due to the fact that in grazers, tooth wear is characterized by a comparatively high degree of abrasion, most probably due to the presence of silicacious phytoliths in grasses, a higher amount of dust and grit adhering to their forage, or both. It has been suggested that excessive tooth wear could be a particularly limiting factor in the husbandry of captive large browsing species, and major tooth wear was demonstrated in captive as compared to free-ranging giraffe. If this increased tooth wear in captivity was an effect of feeding type and diets fed, then it would be expected that other browsing species are affected in a similar manner. In order to test this hypothesis, we investigated the dental mesowear pattern in captive individuals of 19 ruminant species and compared the results to data on free-ranging animals. Compared to free-ranging populations, captive browsers show a significantly more abrasion-dominated tooth wear signal. The reverse applies to captive grazers, which tend to show a less abrasion-dominated wear in captivity. Captive ruminants were generally more homogenous in their wear signature than free-ranging ruminants. If grit contamination in the natural habitat is a major cause of dental wear in grazers, then diets in captivity, although similar in botanical composition, most likely contain less abrasives due to feeding hygiene. If dental wear is one of the major factors limiting longevity, then captive grazers should achieve longer lifespans than both captive browsers and free-ranging grazers. In particular with respect to browsers, the results suggest that captive feeding regimes could be improved.

Abstract

The mesowear method evaluates the wear patterns of herbivore cheek teeth by visually evaluating the facet development of the occlusal surfaces. It thus allows classification of most herbivorous ungulates into browsers, grazers or intermediate feeders, due to the fact that in grazers, tooth wear is characterized by a comparatively high degree of abrasion, most probably due to the presence of silicacious phytoliths in grasses, a higher amount of dust and grit adhering to their forage, or both. It has been suggested that excessive tooth wear could be a particularly limiting factor in the husbandry of captive large browsing species, and major tooth wear was demonstrated in captive as compared to free-ranging giraffe. If this increased tooth wear in captivity was an effect of feeding type and diets fed, then it would be expected that other browsing species are affected in a similar manner. In order to test this hypothesis, we investigated the dental mesowear pattern in captive individuals of 19 ruminant species and compared the results to data on free-ranging animals. Compared to free-ranging populations, captive browsers show a significantly more abrasion-dominated tooth wear signal. The reverse applies to captive grazers, which tend to show a less abrasion-dominated wear in captivity. Captive ruminants were generally more homogenous in their wear signature than free-ranging ruminants. If grit contamination in the natural habitat is a major cause of dental wear in grazers, then diets in captivity, although similar in botanical composition, most likely contain less abrasives due to feeding hygiene. If dental wear is one of the major factors limiting longevity, then captive grazers should achieve longer lifespans than both captive browsers and free-ranging grazers. In particular with respect to browsers, the results suggest that captive feeding regimes could be improved.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:November 2009
Deposited On:13 Oct 2009 07:01
Last Modified:04 Jun 2018 06:26
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1616-5047
Funders:DFG
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2008.09.003

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