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Buccal dental-microwear and dietary ecology in a free-ranging population of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) from southern Gabon

Abstract : Analyses of dental micro- and macro-wear offer valuable information about dietary adaptations. The buccal surface of the teeth does not undergo attrition, indicating that dental microwear may directly inform about food properties. Only a few studies have, however, investigated the environmental and individual factors involved in the formation of such microwear in wild animals. Here, we examine variation of buccal microwear patterns of mandibular molars in a large free-ranging population of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx). We first explore the influence of seasonality and individual's sex, age and tooth macrowear-expressed as the percent of dentine exposure (PDE)-on six microwear variables. Second, we analyze the interplay between individual's diet and PDE. In a last analysis, we revisit our results on mandrills in the light of other primate's microwear studies. We show that the average buccal scratch length and the frequency of vertical buccal scratches are both higher during the long dry season compared to the long rainy season, while we observe the inverse relationship for disto-mesial scratches. In addition, females present more disto-mesial scratches than males and older individuals present higher scratch density, a greater proportion of horizontal scratches but a lower proportion of vertical scratches than young animals. PDE yields similar results than individual's age confirming earlier results in this population on the relationship between age and tooth macrowear. Because seasonality and individual characteristics are both known to impact mandrills' diet in the study population, our results suggest that buccal microwear patterns may inform about individual feeding strategies. Furthermore, PDE increases with the consumption of potentially abrasive monocotyledonous plants, independently of the individuals' age, although it is not affected by food mechanical properties. Finally, buccal scratch densities by orientation appear as relevant proxies for discriminating between different primate taxa.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 25, 2021 - 1:53:07 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 3:32:32 AM


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Alice Percher, Alejandro Romero, Jordi Galbany, Gontran Nsi Akoue, Alejandro Pérez-Pérez, et al.. Buccal dental-microwear and dietary ecology in a free-ranging population of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) from southern Gabon. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (10), pp.e0186870. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0186870⟩. ⟨hal-02079747⟩



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