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Using Microstructures and Composition to Decipher the Alterations of Rodent Teeth in Modern Regurgitation Pellets—A Good News-Bad News Story

1
ISYEB Institut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité, UMR 7205 CNRS, Sorbonne-Université, EPHE, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 75005 Paris, France
2
Department of Biomaterials, Max-Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
Minerals 2020, 10(1), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10010063
Received: 16 December 2019 / Revised: 4 January 2020 / Accepted: 7 January 2020 / Published: 12 January 2020
Rodent accumulations are widely used for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. But these accumulations are created through the activity of predators (carnivorous mammals, birds of prey), the predation and digestion of which modify the preservation of bones and teeth. The microstructures of dentine and enamel, as well as the mineralogy and composition of non-digested and digested Rodent teeth extracted from modern regurgitation pellets collected at Olduvai (Tanzania) from a bird of prey (Bubo sp.) are compared. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Electron Probe Micro Analysis (EPMA) and Raman spectrometry were used. The modifications induced by the digestion process are variable and depend on the tissue (enamel, dentine), tooth (incisor, molar) and the predator. For a given tissue of a tooth, the estimation of the intensity of the alteration varies according to the selected criteria. To classify the digested teeth in categories based on a single parameter to reconstruct environment is still subjective, even for modern accumulations. Moreover, to identify the interplay of diverse parameters to avoid biases in reconstructions is difficult.
Keywords: rodent teeth; taphonomy; tissue modifications; mineralogy, elemental chemistry; environmental reconstructions rodent teeth; taphonomy; tissue modifications; mineralogy, elemental chemistry; environmental reconstructions
MDPI and ACS Style

Dauphin, Y. Using Microstructures and Composition to Decipher the Alterations of Rodent Teeth in Modern Regurgitation Pellets—A Good News-Bad News Story. Minerals 2020, 10, 63.

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