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Scanning Microsc. 1988 Jun;2(2):1149-66.

A review of dental microwear and diet in modern mammals.

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Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Recent work has shown that microscopic wear patterns on teeth may yield insights into variations in diet and tooth use in modern and prehistoric mammals. This paper presents a review of dental microwear and diet in modern mammals, plus a discussion of topics for further research. To date, incisor and molar microwear have been examined, although there are far fewer studies of the former. Facilitated by the use of high-resolution casts and scanning electron microscopy, analyses have ranged from: qualitative to quantitative, low magnification to high magnification, and experimental studies to comparative studies of museum collections. Results are encouraging and may lead to further insights into a variety of topics including food processing and dental microstructure.

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