Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

Comparative analyses of tooth wear in free-ranging and captive wild equids


Schulz-Kornas,  Ellen       
Max Planck Weizmann Center for integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts stored in PuRe
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Taylor, L. A., Müller, D. W. H., Schwitzer, C., Kaiser, T. M., Castell, J. C., Clauss, M., et al. (2016). Comparative analyses of tooth wear in free-ranging and captive wild equids. Equine Veterinary Journal, 48(2), 240-245. doi:10.1111/evj.12408.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0027-D42A-9
Reasons for performing study
Captive breeding has played a crucial role in the conservation of threatened equid species. Grazing ruminants and rhinoceros in captivity have less abrasion-dominated tooth wear than their free-ranging conspecifics, with potential negative consequences for their health. However, a similar study on wild equids in captivity is missing.

The aim was to establish if different tooth wear patterns are exhibited by free-ranging and captive equids.

Study design
Cross-sectional study of museum specimens comparing free-ranging and captive equids.

Dental casts of maxillary cheek teeth of 228 museum specimens (122 from free-ranging and 106 from captive individuals) of 7 wild equid species were analysed using the extended mesowear method. Although teeth showing specific abnormalities were not scored, the presence of focal overgrowths (hooks) of the rostral premolars (106, 206) was recorded.

Captive Equus ferus przewalskii, E. grevyi, E. hemionus, E. quagga boehmi and E. zebra hartmannae have less abrasion-dominated tooth wear on their premolars than their free-ranging conspecifics (P<0.001). Fewer differences were exhibited between populations in the molars. No differences were exhibited in the distal cusp of the molars (110, 210) between populations, except in a small sample of E. kiang. Captive equids exhibited more homogeneous wear along the tooth row whereas free-ranging equids exhibited a tooth wear gradient, with more abrasion on premolars than molars. There were more rostral hooks on the premolars (106, 206) in the captive than the free-ranging population (P = 0.02).

Captive equids did experience less abrasion-dominated tooth wear than their free-ranging conspecifics, but the differences in tooth wear were less pronounced than those between captive and free-ranging wild ruminant and rhinoceros species. This indicates that feeding regimes for captive equids deviate less from natural diets than those for captive ruminants and rhinoceros but that factors leading to hook formation, in particular feeding height, should receive special attention.