Bone’s Intrinsic Traits: Age Estimation from Mammalian Dentition

  • Diane Gifford-Gonzalez
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter summarizes archaeofaunal methods for estimating age-at-death from teeth. It begins with ageing methods based on dental development features: eruption schedules, cement annuli, and radiological analysis of odontological development, from tooth bud to completely formed tooth. It then describes ageing methods that rely on attrition, or wearing away, of the teeth: occlusal wear-stage analysis and the remnant heights of enamel crowns. It considers taphonomic effects on dentitions of young animals. The chapter comparatively assesses ageing methods in terms of their precision and accuracy, stressing that some imprecision might result from flaws in a method but difficulties with precise age estimation can also arise from the variability inherent to living organisms. The chapter stresses that some research questions can reliably be pursued with age estimates of lower resolution but consistent accuracy.

Keywords

Age determination Dental eruption Cementum annuli Occlusal wear stages Crown heights 

References

  1. Aykroyd, R. G., Lucy, D., Pollard, A. M., & Roberts, C. A. (1999). Nasty, brutish, but not necessarily short: A reconsideration of the statistical methods used to calculate age at death from adult human skeletal and dental age indicators. American Antiquity, 64(1), 55–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Balasse, M. (2003). Potential biases in sampling design and interpretation of intra-tooth isotope analysis. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 13(1–2), 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benazzi, S., Bonetti, C., Cilli, E., & Gruppioni, G. (2008). Molar crown height: Not always a reliable method for the evaluation of age-at-death. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35(8), 2371–2378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bouchud, J. (1966). Essai sur le renne et la climatologie du Paléolithique moyen et supérieur. Périgueux: Magne.Google Scholar
  5. Carles, A. B., & Meidie Lampkin, K. (1977). Studies of the permanent incisor eruption, and body development, of the large East African Zebu (Boran) 2. Relations of incisor eruption with body growth, body development, and carcass composition. Journal of Agricultural Science, 88(2), 361–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carter, R. J. (2006). A method to estimate the ages at death of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) from developing mandibular dentition and its application to Mesolithic NW Europe. In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 40–61). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  7. Caughley, G. (1965). Horn rings and tooth eruption as criteria of age in the Himalayan thar Hemitragus jemlahicus. New Zealand Journal of Science, 8, 333–351.Google Scholar
  8. Clarke, C. M. H., Dzieciolowski, R. M., Batcheler, D., & Frampton, C. M. (1992). A comparison of tooth eruption and wear and dental cementum techniques in age determination of New Zealand feral pigs. Wildlife Research, 19(6), 769–777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cool, S. M., Forwood, M. R., Campbell, P., & Bennett, M. B. (2002). Comparison between bone and cementum compositions and the possible basis for their layered appearances. Bone, 30(2), 386–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coy, P., & Garshelis, D. (1992). Reconstructing reproductive histories of black bears from the incremental layering in dental cementum. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 70(11), 2150–2160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coy, J. P., Jones, R. T., & Turner, K. A. (1982). Absolute ageing of cattle from tooth sections and its relevance to archaeology. In B. Wilson, C. Grigson, & S. Payne (Eds.), Ageing and sexing animal bones from archaeological sites (Vol. 109). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, British Series.Google Scholar
  12. Dammers, K. (2006). Using osteohistology for ageing and sexing. In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 9–39). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  13. Davis, S. J. M. (2000). The effect of castration and age on the development of the Shetland sheep skeleton and a metric comparison between bones of males, females and castrates. Journal of Archaeological Science, 27(5), 373–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deniz, E., & Payne, S. (1982). Eruption and wear in the mandibular dentition as a guide to ageing Turkish angora goats. In B. Wilson, C. Grigson, & S. Payne (Eds.), Ageing and sexing animal bones from archaeological sites (Vol. 109, pp. 155–205). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, British Series.Google Scholar
  15. Ducos, P. (1968). L’origine des animaux domestiques en Palestine. Publications de l’Institut de Préhistoire l’Université de Bordeaux, Mémoire, 6.Google Scholar
  16. Enloe, J. G., & Turner, E. (2006). Methodological problems and biases in age determinations: a view from the Magdalenian. In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 129–144). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  17. Frison, G. C. (Ed.). (1974). The Casper Site: A Hell Gap bison kill on the High Plains. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  18. Frison, G. C., & Reher, C. A. (1970). Age determination of buffalo by tooth eruption and wear. Plains Anthropologist Memoir, 7, 46–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frison, G. C., & Todd, L. (Eds.). (1987). The Horner Site: The type site of the Cody Cultural Complex. Orlando: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  20. Gifford-Gonzalez, D. (1991). Examining and refining the quadratic crown height method of age estimation. In M. Stiner (Ed.), Human predation and prey mortality (pp. 41–78). Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  21. Grant, A. (1982). The use of tooth wear as a guide to the age of domestic ungulates. In B. Wilson, C. Grigson, & S. Payne (Eds.), Ageing and sexing animal bones from archaeological sites (Vol. 109, pp. 91–108). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, British Series.Google Scholar
  22. Greenfield, H. J., & Arnold, E. R. (2008). Absolute age and tooth eruption and wear sequences in sheep and goat: Determining age-at-death in zooarchaeology using a modern control sample. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35(4), 836–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Johnston, S. E., Gratten, J., Berenos, C., Pilkington, J. G., Clutton-Brock, T. H., Pemberton, J. M., et al. (2013). Life history trade-offs at a single locus maintain sexually selected genetic variation. [Letter]. Nature, 502(7469), 93–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jones, G. G. (2006). Tooth eruption and wear observed in live sheep from Butser Hill, the Cotswold Farm Park and five farms in the Pentland Hills, UK. In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 155–178). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  25. Klein, R. G., & Cruz-Uribe, K. (1984). The analysis of animal bones from archaeological sites. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Klein, R. G., Wolf, C., Freeman, L. G., & Allwarden, K. (1981). The use of dental crown heights for constructing age profiles of red deer and similar species from archaeological sites. Journal of Archaeological Science, 8(1), 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Klein, R. G., Allwarden, K., & Wolf, C. (1983). The calculation and interpretation of ungulate age profiles from dental crown heights. In G. N. Bailey (Ed.), Hunter-gatherer economy in prehistory: A European perspective (pp. 47–57). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Klevezal, G. A. (1996). Recording structures of mammals: Determination of age and reconstruction of life history. Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.Google Scholar
  29. Klevezal, G. A., & Kleinenberg, S. E. (1969). Age determination of mammals from annual layers in teeth and bones, Clearinghouse for federal scientific and technical information (Vol. 1024). Springfield: Academy of Sciences USSR translated 1969 U.S Dept. of Commerce.Google Scholar
  30. Koenigsberg, L. W., & Holman, D. (1999). Estimation of age at death from dental emergence and implications for studies of prehistorics somatic growth. In R. D. Hoppa & C. M. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Paleodemography: Age distributions from skeletal samples (pp. 222–242). Cambridge: Cambridge Unversity Press.Google Scholar
  31. Koenigsberg, L. W., Frankenberg, S. R., & Walker, R. B. (1997). Regress what on what? Paleodemographic age estimation is a calibration problem. In R. R. Paine (Ed.), Integrating archaeological demography: Multidisciplinary approach to prehistoric population, Center for Archaeological Investigations Occasional Papers (Vol. 24, pp. 64–88). Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Koike, H., & Ohtaishi, N. (1985). Prehistoric hunting pressure estimated by the age composition of excavated sika deer (Cervus nippon) using the annual layer of tooth cement. Journal of Archaeological Science, 12(6), 443–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Laws, R. M. (1952). A new method of age determination for mammals. Nature, 169, 972–973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Levine, M. A. (1979). Archaeo-zoological analysis of some Upper Pleistocene horse bone assemblages in Western Europe. Doctoral dissertation, University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  35. Levine, M. A. (1982). The use of crown height measurements and eruption-wear sequences to age horse teeth. In B. Wilson, C. Grigson, & S. Payne (Eds.), Ageing and sexing animal bones from archaeological sites (Vol. 109, pp. 223–250). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, British Series.Google Scholar
  36. Levitan, B. M. (1982). Errors in recording tooth wear in ovicaprid mandibles at different speeds. In B. Wilson, C. Grigson, & S. Payne (Eds.), Ageing and sexing animal bones from archaeological sites (Vol. 109, pp. 207–214). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, British Series.Google Scholar
  37. Lieberman, D. E. (1993). Life history variables preserved in dental cementum microstructure. Science, 261(5125), 1162–1164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lieberman, D. E. (1994). The biological basis for seasonal increments in dental cementum and their application to archaeological research. Journal of Archaeological Science, 21(4), 525–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Louguet, S. (2006). Determining the age of death of proboscids and rhinocerotids from dental attrition. In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 179–188). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  40. Lowe, V. P. W. (1957). Teeth as indicators of age with special reference to red deer (Cervus elaphus) of known age from Rhum. Journal of Zoology, 152(2), 137–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lowe, A., Hobson, D., Willis, P., & Hall, S. (Eds.). (1980). Culture, media, language. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  42. Lubinski, P. M. (2000). A comparison of methods for evaluating ungulate mortality distributions. Archaeozoologica, 11, 121–134.Google Scholar
  43. Lubinski, P. M., & O’Brien, C. J. (2001). Observations on seasonality and mortality from a recent catastrophic death assemblage. Journal of Archaeological Science, 28(8), 833–842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Magnell, O. (2006). Tooth Wear in Wild Boar (Sus scrofa). In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 189–203). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  45. Millard, A. R. (2006). A Bayesian Approach to Ageing Sheep/Goats from Toothwear. In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 145–154). Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
  46. Moran, N. C., & O’Connor, T. P. (1994). Age attribution in domestic sheep by skeletal and dental maturation: A pilot student of available sources. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 4(4), 267–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Munson, P. J. (2000). Age-correlated differential destruction of bones and its effect on archaeological mortality profiles of domestic sheep and goats. Journal of Archaeological Science, 27(5), 391–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Munson, P. J., & Garniewicz, R. C. (2003). Age-mediated survivorship of ungulate mandibles and teeth in canid-ravaged faunal assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Science, 30(4), 405–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. O’Connor, T. P. (2006). Vertebrate demography by the numbers: age, sex, and archaeological practice. In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 1–8). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  50. Ortman, S. G., Varien, M. D., & Gripp, T. L. (2007). Empirical Bayesian methods for archaeological survey data: An application from the Mesa Verde region. American Antiquity, 72(2), 241–272.Google Scholar
  51. Payne, S. (1973). Kill-off patterns in sheep and goats: The mandibles from Aşvan Kale. Anatolian Studies, 23, 281–303.Google Scholar
  52. Payne, S. (1987). Reference codes for wear stage in the mandibular cheek teeth of sheep and goats. Journal of Archaeological Science, 14(6), 609–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Pike-Tay, A. (1991). L’analyse du cement dentaire chez les cerfs: l’application en préhistoire. Paléo, 3(1), 149–166.Google Scholar
  54. Pike-Tay, A. (1995). Variability and synchrony of seasonal indicator in dental cementum microstructure of the Kaminuriak caribou population. Archaeofauna, 4, 273–284.Google Scholar
  55. Pike-Tay, A., Morcomb, C. A., & O’Farrell, M. (2000). Reconsidering the quadratic crown height method of age estimation for Rangifer from archaeological sites. Archaeozoologia, 11, 145–174.Google Scholar
  56. Redding, R. W. (1981). The faunal remains. In H. T. Wright (Ed.), An early town on the Deh Luran plain, Museum of Anthropology, Memoirs (Vol. 13, pp. 233–261). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  57. Rissman, P. C. (1987). The potential of annular analysis for south Asian archaeology. Man and Environment, 11, 15–24.Google Scholar
  58. Robertson, I. G. (1999). Spatial and multivariate analysis, random sampling error, and analytical noise: Empirical Bayesian methods at Teotihuacan, Mexico. American Antiquity, 64(1), 137–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Savelle, J. M., & Beattie, O. B. (1983). Analysis of dental annuli in muskoxen Ovibos moschatus as an aid in the determination of archaeological site seasonality. Canadian Journal of Anthropology, 3(11), 123–129.Google Scholar
  60. Sergeant, D. E., & Pimlott, D. H. (1959). Age determination in moose from sectioned incisor teeth. Journal of Wildlife Management, 23(3), 315–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Severinghaus, C. W. (1949). Tooth development and wear as criteria of age in white-tailed deer. Journal of Wildlife Management, 13(2), 195–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Simpson, C. D., & Elder, W. H. (1969). Tooth cementum as an index of age in greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros). Arnoldia (Rhodesia), 4(20), 1–10.Google Scholar
  63. Spinage, C. A. (1967). Ageing the Uganda defassa waterbuck Kobus defassa ugandae Neumann. African Journal of Ecology, 5(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Spinage, C. A. (1971). Geratondology and horn growth of the impala (Aepyceros melampus). Journal of Zoology, 164(2), 209–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Spinage, C. A. (1972). Age estimation in zebra. African Journal of Ecology, 10(4), 273–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Spinage, C. A. (1973). A review of the age determination of mammals by means of teeth, with especial reference to Africa. African Journal of Ecology, 11(2), 165–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Steele, T. E. (2006). Accuracy of age determinations from tooth crown heights: a test using an expanded sample of known age red deer (Cervus elaphus). In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 119–128). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  68. Stiner, M. C. (1990). The use of mortality patterns in archaeological studies of hominid predatory adaptations. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 9(4), 305–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Stiner, M. C. (1994). Honor among thieves: A zooarchaeological study of neandertal ecology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Stutz, A. J. (2002). Polarizing microscopy identification of chemical diagenesis in archaeological cementum. Journal of Archaeological Science, 29(11), 1327–1347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wall-Scheffler, C. M., & Foley, R. A. (2008). Digital cementum luminance analysis (DCLA): A tool for the analysis of climatic and seasonal signals in dental cementum. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 18(1), 11–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wittwer-Backofen, U., Gampe, J., & Vaupel, J. W. (2004). Tooth cementum annulation for age estimation: Results from a large known-age validation study. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 123(2), 119–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Zeder, M. A. (1991). Feeding cities: Specialized animal economy in the Ancient Near East. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
  74. Zeder, M. A. (2006). Reconciling rate of long bone fusion and tooth eruption and wear in sheep (Ovis) and goat (Capra). In D. Ruscillo (Ed.), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones (pp. 87–118). Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane Gifford-Gonzalez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

Personalised recommendations