Aging Mandibular Bison Teeth with ArcGIS

Author(s): Andrew Owens; David Byers; Molly Boeka-Cannon

Year: 2017


This talk presents a new, non-destructive, empirical, and replicable method for aging bison teeth with mandibular tooth photos and ArcGIS digital mapping. Tooth eruption, growth, and attrition can document age-at-death, which informs on hunting strategies, occupation seasonality, environmental conditions, and herd health. Previous dentition studies utilize numerous tooth metrics that commonly require specimen-destructive research methods. Also, occlusal wear age estimates rely on subjective wear patterning classifications and figures. We suggest a new approach that provides age profiles by "mapping" occlusal wear with ESRi’s AcrGIS® software. Planview mandibular tooth photos from the University of Wyoming’s known-age mandible sample, and well-documented prehistoric samples including the Agate Basin, Hawken, Horner, Glenrock, and Vore sites were captured and georeferenced. Next, GIS polygons were digitized for various occlusal surface features. Digitized GIS shape files were then used to generate various occlusal surface feature areas, and multiple statistical methods were employed that explore relationships between quantified occlusal surfaces and specimen ages. Lastly, traditional mandibular tooth figures are presented which demonstrate the extreme occlusal wear detail produced by this tooth mapping method.

Cite this Record

Aging Mandibular Bison Teeth with ArcGIS. Andrew Owens, David Byers, Molly Boeka-Cannon. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429007)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14835