An analysis on the effect of wear on bovid tooth identification

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South African Journal of Science (SAJS)


Previous research provides a method for reducing the subjectivity in molar tooth identification of animals in the family Bovidae, by quantifying the occlusal surface of teeth using elliptical Fourier analysis. This current paper specifically tests what effect teeth with medium to late wear have on the identification of bovid teeth when using the form (size and shape) of the occlusal surface to classify specimens. To achieve this, the classification results of teeth with ≥85% of their occlusal surface (training data set) were compared with the results of teeth with87% of the time with both Alcelaphini and Reduncini classifying > 90% correctly. The worn teeth classified at lower rates, as was expected from the test data set. All tribes still collectively had a good >60% classification accuracy with Alcelaphini and Tragelaphini > 75% and Reduncini > 65%. Hippotragini classified correctly 50% of the time and Neotragini 42%. The one worn Bovini tooth in the test data set classified as a Hippotragini. The classification rates of teeth with medium to late wear were lower than the unworn teeth; but not so low as to suggest that this methodology for identifying bovid teeth is inappropriate for worn teeth, especially when utilised as a supplement with other methods.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.