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Overcoming sampling issues in dental tribology: Insights from an experimentation on sheep

Abstract : Dental microwear has been used in paleoecology for nearly half a century. The advent of technologies in the past decade has allowed for enamel surfaces to be scanned in 3D, and thus for microwear textures to be characterized as a whole. Although dental microwear texture analysis is widely used, few studies have tackled the issue of sample representativity, or the variability of the microwear signal along a facet or a tooth row. How much information can we accurately extract from a fossil sample when tooth wear is considered? Can we accurately make inferences on a whole species based on fossil samples primarily comprised of isolated teeth? These matters remain to be characterized in a controlled setting. In this study, we tackle this issue from the ground up. A large-scale controlled food trial conducted on domestic sheep provides the framework in which to test these fundamental questions. Our results highlight that analyzing a 200 × 200 µm surface allows for better differentiation between dietary categories, as opposed to analyzing smaller surfaces. Comparisons of facets from upper and lower molars reveal significant variations depending on the contribution to either the buccal or the lingual shearing phase I during the chewing cycle. Investigating the microwear signal along the tooth row does not reveal any significant variation between molars belonging to a same tooth row. However, when simulating three fossil samples composed of isolated upper or lower molars from M1 to M3 from the three sets of ewes, our study does highlight poor results in discriminating dietary categories.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02101056
Contributor : Nicolas Pinet Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 2:31:02 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 5:58:57 AM

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A. Ramdarshan, C. Blondel, D. Gautier, J. Surault, G. Merceron. Overcoming sampling issues in dental tribology: Insights from an experimentation on sheep. Palaeontologia Electronica, Coquina Press, 2017, pp.1-19. ⟨10.26879/762⟩. ⟨hal-02101056⟩

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