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Journal Article

Root growth compensates for molar wear in adult goats (Capra aegagrus hircus)


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

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Ackermans, N. L., Clauss, M., Winkler, D. E., Schulz-Kornas, E., Kaiser, T. M., Müller, D. W. H., et al. (2019). Root growth compensates for molar wear in adult goats (Capra aegagrus hircus). Journal of Experimental Zoology A, 331(2), 139-148. doi:10.1002/jez.2248.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-9ABF-A
One reason for the mammalian clade’s success is the evolutionary diversity of their teeth. In herbivores, this is represented by high‐crowned teeth evolved to compensate for wear caused by dietary abrasives like phytoliths and grit. Exactly how dietary abrasives wear teeth is still not understood completely. We fed four different pelleted diets of increasing abrasiveness (L: Lucerne; G: grass; GR: grass and rice husks; GRS: grass, rice husks, and sand) to four groups of a total of 28 adult goats, all with completely erupted third molars, over a six‐month period. Tooth morphology was captured by medical computed tomography scans at the beginning and end of the controlled feeding experiment, and separation lines between the crown and root segments were defined in the upper right second molar (M2), to gauge absolute wear. Using bootstrapping, significant differences in volume loss between diets L/G and GR/GRS were detected. A small but nevertheless consistent volume gain was noted in the roots, and there was a significant, positive correlation between crown volume loss and root volume gain. This growth could possibly be attributed to the well‐known process of cementum deposition and its relation with a putative feedback mechanism, in place to attenuate wear caused by abrasive diets.