[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: A question about tooth enamel and drawing dietary conclusions

nooj writes:

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.

How do scientists work this problem out?

I imagine they can't for extinct species.

Dietry changes don't even have to be that rapid. Take giant pandas for example. Their dentition doesn't exactly scream 'specialised bamboo eater'. If we only knew them from fossil remains (and only from cranial material), who would guess their 'true' dietry preferences?


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://heretichides.soffiles.com