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Tracking dietary transitions in weanling baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis) using strontium/calcium ratios in enamel

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wendy Dirks


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Strontium and calcium are incorporated into developing teeth in a manner that reflects changing physiological concentrations in the body. A new model predicts changes in strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) ratios in response to dietary transitions experienced at birth and during the weaning period. Microsampling of longitudinal thin sections of tooth enamel using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry provides a basis for the systematic evaluation of variation in Sr/Ca ratios within the tooth crown. Incremental growth markers in enamel are used to determine the age of onset of enamel mineralization at each sampling point. Thin sections of 5 teeth from 2 wild-caught baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis) were systematically analysed using this technique. Intra- and intertooth analyses of Sr/Ca ratios reveal a pattern of dietary development during the period of enamel formation that is consistent with observational data on the timing of weaning behaviour in anubis baboons. Copyright © 2008 S. Karger AG.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Humphrey L, Dirks W, Dean M, Jeffries T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Folia Primatologica

Year: 2008

Volume: 79

Issue: 4

Pages: 197-212

Print publication date: 01/06/2008

ISSN (print): 0015-5713

ISSN (electronic): 1421-9980


DOI: 10.1159/000113457

PubMed id: 18204264


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