Age-related changes of the teeth chewing surface of the European badger (Meles meles L.)
Chashchukhin V.A., DSc in biology, professor,
Solov'ev V.A., PhD in biology, senior researcher
Professor Zhitkov Federal State Budgetary Russian Research Institute of Game Management and Fur Farming, Kirov, Russia
Skulls of 37 European badger were examined. Skulls were distributed in ranks according to the degree of transformation of the chewing surfaces of molars in the upper and lower jaw. In each row the skulls with the most typical age-related changes of the chewing surfaces of molars is selected. Then the age was determined by the number of annual layers of dentin on a longitudinal section of the upper canines. Visually noticeable transformation of chewing surfaces begins with the third year of badger's life. At first tops of tubercles and ridges in the center of the molars disappear. On the fourth and fifth years of life tops of tubercles and ridges on the lateral side of the molars begin to disappear. At the age of six and seven years chewing surface in the center of molars becomes flat. The edges of the teeth are oval. At badgers in the age of 8 - 10 years there has been a partial or complete degradation of the molars in the lower jaw. Probably the teeth of the lower jaw are experiencing the greatest physical stress during grinding feed. The most varied is chewing surface of molars in individuals under the age of six - ten years. Age of the oldest individual in the sample is defined as 14 years. Molars of the upper and lower jaw were subjected to considerable degradation. In left mandibular one molar was absent. Location of molars is completely overgrown with bone tissue. The maximum life span of the European badger is about 18 years. It is not possible to correlate precisely changes of the chewing surfaces of teeth with specific stages of age badgers, except for the individuals of the first 4-5 years of life.
Keywords: European badger, age, teeth, chewing surface
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