IMAGES: Tooth Marks

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Science  09 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5779, pp. 1447
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5779.1447d

Munching tough leaves produces scratches on the teeth of a mantled howler monkey. By contrast, deep pits and gouges reveal a tufted capuchin monkey's penchant for crunching nuts and seeds. Dental Microwear from paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, offers an introduction to such microscopic clues to primate diets, including the dining habits of our ancient ancestors. The site features background pages on studying tooth wear and a brief tutorial on one method called texture analysis. A database houses tooth-wear images for two monkey species and two types of early humans. Ungar hopes researchers will contribute results for many more vertebrates, from dinosaurs to humans.

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