Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Dental microwear texture gradients in guinea pigs reveal that material properties of the diet affect chewing behaviour


Winkler, Daniela E; Clauss, Marcus; Rölle, Maximilian; Schulz-Kornas, Ellen; Codron, Daryl; Kaiser, Thomas M; Tütken, Thomas (2021). Dental microwear texture gradients in guinea pigs reveal that material properties of the diet affect chewing behaviour. Journal of Experimental Biology, 224(13):jeb242446.

Abstract

Dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) is widely used for diet inferences in extant and extinct vertebrates. Often, a reference tooth position is analysed in extant specimens, while isolated teeth are lumped together in fossil datasets. It is therefore important to test whether dental microwear texture (DMT) is tooth position specific and, if so, what causes the differences in wear. Here, we present results from controlled feeding experiments with 72 guinea pigs, which received either fresh or dried natural plant diets of different phytolith content (lucerne, grass, bamboo) or pelleted diets with and without mineral abrasives (frequently encountered by herbivorous mammals in natural habitats). We tested for gradients in dental microwear texture along the upper cheek tooth row. Regardless of abrasive content, guinea pigs on pelleted diets displayed an increase in surface roughness along the tooth row, indicating that posterior tooth positions experience more wear compared with anterior teeth. Guinea pigs feedings on plants of low phytolith content and low abrasiveness (fresh and dry lucerne, fresh grass) showed almost no DMT differences between tooth positions, while individuals feeding on more abrasive plants (dry grass, fresh and dry bamboo) showed a gradient of decreasing surface roughness along the tooth row. We suggest that plant feeding involves continuous intake and comminution by grinding, resulting in posterior tooth positions mainly processing food already partly comminuted and moistened. Pelleted diets require crushing, which exerts higher loads, especially on posterior tooth positions, where bite forces are highest. These differences in chewing behaviour result in opposing wear gradients for plant versus pelleted diets.

Abstract

Dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) is widely used for diet inferences in extant and extinct vertebrates. Often, a reference tooth position is analysed in extant specimens, while isolated teeth are lumped together in fossil datasets. It is therefore important to test whether dental microwear texture (DMT) is tooth position specific and, if so, what causes the differences in wear. Here, we present results from controlled feeding experiments with 72 guinea pigs, which received either fresh or dried natural plant diets of different phytolith content (lucerne, grass, bamboo) or pelleted diets with and without mineral abrasives (frequently encountered by herbivorous mammals in natural habitats). We tested for gradients in dental microwear texture along the upper cheek tooth row. Regardless of abrasive content, guinea pigs on pelleted diets displayed an increase in surface roughness along the tooth row, indicating that posterior tooth positions experience more wear compared with anterior teeth. Guinea pigs feedings on plants of low phytolith content and low abrasiveness (fresh and dry lucerne, fresh grass) showed almost no DMT differences between tooth positions, while individuals feeding on more abrasive plants (dry grass, fresh and dry bamboo) showed a gradient of decreasing surface roughness along the tooth row. We suggest that plant feeding involves continuous intake and comminution by grinding, resulting in posterior tooth positions mainly processing food already partly comminuted and moistened. Pelleted diets require crushing, which exerts higher loads, especially on posterior tooth positions, where bite forces are highest. These differences in chewing behaviour result in opposing wear gradients for plant versus pelleted diets.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
10 citations in Web of Science®
10 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

30 downloads since deposited on 12 Aug 2021
13 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

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
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Life Sciences > Physiology
Life Sciences > Aquatic Science
Life Sciences > Animal Science and Zoology
Life Sciences > Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > Insect Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Insect Science, Animal Science and Zoology, Aquatic Science, Physiology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Molecular Biology
Language:English
Date:1 July 2021
Deposited On:12 Aug 2021 10:17
Last Modified:26 May 2024 01:41
Publisher:Company of Biologists
ISSN:0022-0949
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.242446
Project Information:
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID681450
  • : Project TitleVERTEBRATE HERBIVORY - Evolution of herbivory in vertebrates: developing combined isotope (Ca, Sr) and dental surface texture analysis as deep time diet proxies
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English