Identification of age at death in red deer (Cervus elaphus) through the upper dentition: Eruption pattern, wear stage and crown heights

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The present research aims to determine the age at which red deer (Cervus elaphus) specimens died by examining their upper dentition. We analyzed eighty free-ranging individuals from southern Spain to establish a reference database for age calculation. The age of these individuals was identified by the mandibular teeth inferred from their known death years and the maxillary teeth were evaluated relative to them. As a result, we have provided three non-destructive methods: a description of the eruption sequence and dental replacement, a referential code for occlusal wear stages, and a regression analysis considering the height of the cusps in both upper and lower dentition. These methods offer the possibility of estimating the age at which the animals died and categorizing them into specific age groups. To evaluate the practicality of this method, we applied it to the Middle Paleolithic archaeological site of Abric Romaní. All the proposed methods allow us to approximate the age at death of red deer individuals. The most accurate results, whenever feasible, are obtained by combining these different methods. This study facilitates the inclusion of upper dentition fossils that have traditionally been omitted from the analysis in archaeological sites, allowing a better adjustment of the quantitative methods used to calculate the number of skeletal elements and the number of individuals. This, in turn, enables a more accurate construction of the anatomical and mortality profiles
The registered version of this article, first published in “Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol.163, 2024, 105934", is available online at the publisher's website: Elsevier, La versión registrada de este artículo, publicado por primera vez en “Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol.163, 2024, 105934", está disponible en línea en el sitio web del editor: Elsevier,
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mortality profiles, zooarchaeology, age at death, red deer, dental wear, dental eruption, crown measurement
Marín,J.; Saladié,P.; Azorit, C.; Rodríguez Hidalgo, A. Identification of age at death in red deer (Cervus elaphus) through the upper dentition: Eruption pattern, wear stage and crown heights, Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol.163, 2024, 105934,
Facultad de Geografía e Historia
Prehistoria y Arqueología
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