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Re: A question about tooth enamel and drawing dietary conclusions

nooj (soixmoi@gmail.com) wrote:

<As I understand it, examining the thickness of the tooth enamel and the shape
of the teeth tells scientists the likely diet of that animal. But what if the
environment or food source changed so quickly that evolution shaping the teeth
to suit the food source lags behind? Then we have a disparity between what the
animal actually eats and what the teeth say they should eat.>

  Unfortunately, some studies lag behind on the application of tooth-shape to
diet in the first place, in that many studies assume without question that a
feature of dental anatomy or wear refers to a particular diet or habitat. This
tends to be used to call into question the arguments of habitat, and so forth.
The best way to fix this is simply to assemble as much possible data available,
distill it, and analyze it until as few possibilities can be determined from
it, then compare those hypotheses to the data set to find the best fit. There
will always be margins of doubt, and room for error, but a good study will be
explicit, clear, and show all the information used for perusal and


Jaime A. Headden

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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