Scanning Microscopy


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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