Computed Tomography as a Method for Age Determination of Carnivora and Odontocetes with Validation from Individuals with Known Age

Sina Baier-Stegmaier*, Carsten Gundlach, Mariann Chriél, Mette Sif Hansen, Christina Vedel-Smith*, Charlotte Vikkelsø Hansen, Daniel Klingberg Johansson, Louise Birgitte Henriksen, Magnus Wahlberg, Charlotte Bie Thøstesen, Aage Kristian Olsen Alstrup, Kristian Murphy Gregersen, Cino Pertoldi, Sussie Pagh*


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1 Citationer (Scopus)
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Traditional methods for age determination of wildlife include either slicing thin sections off or grinding a tooth, both of which are laborious and invasive. Especially when it comes to ancient and valuable museum samples of rare or extinct species, non-invasive methods are preferable. In this study, X-ray micro-computed tomography (µ-CT) was verified as an alternative non-invasive method for age determination of three species within the order of Carnivora and suborders Odontoceti. Teeth from 13 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), 2 American mink (Neogale vison), and 2 harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) of known age were studied using µ-CT. The number of visible dental growth layers in the µ-CT were highly correlated with true age for all three species (R2 = 96%, p < 0.001). In addition, the Bland–Altman plot showed high agreement between the age of individuals and visible dental layers represented in 2D slices of the 3D µ-CT images. The true age of individuals was on average 0.3 (±0.6 SD) years higher than the age interpreted by the µ-CT image, and there was a 95% agreement between the true age and the age interpreted from visible dental layers in the µ-CT.

Udgave nummer11
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge support from the Danish National Facility for Imaging with X-rays (DANFIX) funded by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education via grant ID 5072-00030B. S.B.S. is grateful for the financial support from Innovation Fund Denmark via grant 5152-00005B.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


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