Facial reconstruction

Search LJMU Research Online

Browse Repository | Browse E-Theses

The potential and pitfalls of using simple dental metrics to infer the diets of African antelopes (Mammalia: Bovidae)

Louys, J, Meloro, C, Elton, S, Ditchfield, P and Bishop, LC (2015) The potential and pitfalls of using simple dental metrics to infer the diets of African antelopes (Mammalia: Bovidae). Palaeontologia Africana, 49. ISSN 2410-4418

This is the latest version of this item.


Download (6MB) | Preview


The use of mesowear to infer diets of extinct species is fast becoming widespread in palaeoecological studies. Nevertheless, traditional mesowear analyses suffer from a specimen number limitation, in that a minimum number of specimens identified to the species level is necessary to make accurate dietary predictions. This is problematic in many fossil African antelope (Mammalia: Bovidae) assemblages, where isolated teeth cannot always be assigned to species. Hereweexplore the possibility of using simple dental metrics to predict diets on the basis of individual teeth as well as gnathic rows using linear discriminant function analyses.We find that browsers are accurately classified at both the individual and species levels, across all models and tooth positions. Mixed feeders and grazers are classified accurately only sometimes, and this is probably a reflection of the more limited sample size of larger bodied species in our study. Body size was a highly significant predictor of the inaccurate classifications obtained in our models, with larger bodied species tending to grazing classifications and smaller bodied species browsing classifications. Nevertheless, the models correctly classify the majority of specimens we examined to their correct trophic group, as determined through stable isotope analyses or as defined through the literature. The methods outlined hold some promise for determining the diets of isolated fossil specimens unassigned to species in a simple manner and, when used in conjunction with other palaeodietary and palaeoecological proxies, may help determine palaeoenvironments more accurately.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2015 09:53
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 14:12
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1597

Available Versions of this Item

View Item View Item