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Authors: Weber, Katrin
Winkler, Daniela E.
Schulz-Kornas, Ellen
Kaiser, Thomas M.
Tütken, Thomas
Title: Post-mortem enamel surface texture alteration during taphonomic processes : do experimental approaches reflect natural phenomena?
Online publication date: 10-Nov-2022
Year of first publication: 2022
Language: english
Abstract: Experimental approaches are often used to better understand the mechanisms behind and consequences of post-mortem alteration on proxies for diet reconstruction. Dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) is such a dietary proxy, using dental wear features in extant and extinct taxa to reconstruct feeding behaviour and mechanical food properties. In fossil specimens especially, DMTA can be biased by post-mortem alteration caused by mechanical or chemical alteration of the enamel surface. Here we performed three different dental surface alteration experiments to assess the effect of common taphonomic processes by simplifying them: (1) tumbling in sediment suspension to simulate fluvial transport, (2) sandblasting to simulate mechanical erosion due to aeolian sediment transport, (3) acid etching to simulate chemical dissolution by stomach acid. For tumbling (1) we found alteration to be mainly dependent on sediment grain size fraction and that on specimens tumbled with sand fractions mainly post-mortem scratches formed on the dental surface, while specimens tumbled with a fine-gravel fraction showed post-mortem formed dales. Sandblasting (2) with loess caused only negligible alteration, however blasting with fine sand quartz particles resulted in significant destruction of enamel surfaces and formation of large post-mortem dales. Acid etching (3) using diluted hydrochloric acid solutions in concentrations similar to that of predator stomachs led to a complete etching of the whole dental surface, which did not resemble those of teeth recovered from owl pellets. The experiments resulted in post-mortem alteration comparable, but not identical to naturally occurring post-mortem alteration features. Nevertheless, this study serves as a first assessment and step towards further, more refined taphonomic experiments evaluating post-mortem alteration of dental microwear texture (DMT).
DDC: 560 Paläontologie
560 Paleontology
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 09 Chemie, Pharmazie u. Geowissensch.
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Document type specification: Scientific article
License: CC BY
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Journal: PeerJ
Pages or article number: e12635
Publisher: PeerJ, Inc
Publisher place: London
Issue date: 2022
ISSN: 2167-8359
Publisher DOI: 10.7717/peerj.12635
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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