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Mesowear represents a lifetime signal in sheep (Ovis aries) within a long-term feeding experiment


Ackermans, Nicole L; Martin, Louise F; Codron, Daryl; Hummel, Jürgen; Kircher, Patrick R; Richter, Henning; Kaiser, Thomas M; Clauss, Marcus; Hatt, Jean-Michel (2020). Mesowear represents a lifetime signal in sheep (Ovis aries) within a long-term feeding experiment. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 553:109793.

Abstract

A herbivore's diet can affect its teeth by causing different types of wear. Browsers typically have sharper, higher cusps, while grazers show lower, blunter cusps, presumably due to the more abrasive nature of their diet. On the macroscopic scale, this allows the reconstruction of herbivore diets based on the shape of the tooth's profile, using the mesowear method. However, the timeframe involved in constituting a stable dietary signal represented by mesowear has not been precisely defined. To obtain a more precise delimitation of this timeframe, sheep (Ovis aries, n = 39) were fed pelleted diets containing external abrasives of different sizes (⌀ 4 μm, ⌀ 50 μm, and ⌀ 130 μm), and concentrations (4%, or 8%) for 17 months. Mesowear was scored on the skulls at the end of the experiment, as well as on computer-tomographic scans and on resin casts of the teeth taken at different timepoints along the experiment. These datasets were compared, and changes in score were calculated using the CT and cast data from the beginning and end of the experiment. Overall, even though a visual trend appeared of more wear on higher abrasion diets, it was of an extremely small magnitude, and the dietary effect on the mesowear scores or the change of the mesowear scores in these animals was never significant. This leads us to conclude that, at least in small ruminants, mesowear is more of a general signal than a seasonal one, and needs to be considered as such for tooth wear-based palaeodietary reconstructions. Experiments with natural forages are required to corroborate this conclusion.

Abstract

A herbivore's diet can affect its teeth by causing different types of wear. Browsers typically have sharper, higher cusps, while grazers show lower, blunter cusps, presumably due to the more abrasive nature of their diet. On the macroscopic scale, this allows the reconstruction of herbivore diets based on the shape of the tooth's profile, using the mesowear method. However, the timeframe involved in constituting a stable dietary signal represented by mesowear has not been precisely defined. To obtain a more precise delimitation of this timeframe, sheep (Ovis aries, n = 39) were fed pelleted diets containing external abrasives of different sizes (⌀ 4 μm, ⌀ 50 μm, and ⌀ 130 μm), and concentrations (4%, or 8%) for 17 months. Mesowear was scored on the skulls at the end of the experiment, as well as on computer-tomographic scans and on resin casts of the teeth taken at different timepoints along the experiment. These datasets were compared, and changes in score were calculated using the CT and cast data from the beginning and end of the experiment. Overall, even though a visual trend appeared of more wear on higher abrasion diets, it was of an extremely small magnitude, and the dietary effect on the mesowear scores or the change of the mesowear scores in these animals was never significant. This leads us to conclude that, at least in small ruminants, mesowear is more of a general signal than a seasonal one, and needs to be considered as such for tooth wear-based palaeodietary reconstructions. Experiments with natural forages are required to corroborate this conclusion.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Clinical Diagnostics and Services
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Oceanography
Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Earth-Surface Processes
Physical Sciences > Paleontology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earth-Surface Processes, Palaeontology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Oceanography
Language:English
Date:1 May 2020
Deposited On:18 May 2020 18:27
Last Modified:27 Sep 2020 08:01
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0031-0182
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2020.109793
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_163300/1
  • : Project Title

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