Mesowear as a means of determining diets in African antelopes

Julien Louys, Carlo Meloro, Sarah Elton, Peter Ditchfield, Laura Bishop

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Analysis of dental mesowear is a useful tool to examine dietary strategies in ungulates, and provides a palaeoenvironmental proxy at archaeological and palaeontological sites. We examine the distribution of traditional qualitative mesowear variables amongst 33 species of extant African antelope. We also examine the relationship of our dataset with the original dataset of Fortelius and Solounias (2000). We find that confining mesowear analyses to antelope species alone reduces their discriminating power relative to that found in analyses using a broader range of taxa. Variability in mesowear scores along the toothrow suggest that different teeth do not wear equivalently over an individual's life-time, so it is important to confine comparisons to individual tooth positions for palaeodietary classifications. Mesowear scores from the third upper molar were found to have the greatest discriminating power. Frugivores displayed unique mesowear signatures, suggesting that this trophic guild should be taken into consideration separately in future mesowear analyses. These results have implications which can improve the application and the discriminatory power of mesowear analyses for the determination of the palaeodiets of extinct taxa, and, by extension, their palaeoenvironments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1485-1495
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    Dive into the research topics of 'Mesowear as a means of determining diets in African antelopes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this