Age-Related Changes in Functional Teeth in the Pacific Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens)
We examined functional teeth (except for upper canine teeth) of Pacific walruses that died or were harvested on the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula in 2005, 2007–2008, and 2010–2011. The dynamics of deposition of annual cement layers was investigated. The rate of cement deposition on the walls of tooth roots decreased significantly with age. The rate of its deposition on the lingual side of the upper teeth was much higher than that on their buccal side, but no such differences were observed on the lower teeth. The same cement layer was deposited unevenly in different parts of teeth (on its different sides and levels) with a general tendency of increasing in the width of the layer from the top to the lower parts of teeth. As a result of local widening of some cement layers with age, the tooth surface became rough, and knolls and rollers appeared there. As the age increased, external changes in teeth occurred: they became larger, more rounded, and heavier. We described a method for the preliminary determination of the relative age of walruses based on the ratio between the width of cement and dentin on the attrition surface of lower teeth (without cutting).
Keywordsage-related changes tooth size annual layer cement age determination pinnipeds walrus Odobenus rosmarus
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