Glossary

Agronomy:

It is the science of understanding and improving the mechanisms at play in agriculture.

Tribology:

It is the study of the phenomena that can occur between two material systems in contact, immobile or in motion. This term covers in particular all areas of friction, wear, the study of interfaces and lubrication.

Paleontology:

It is the scientific discipline that studies the fossil remains of living things from the past.

Photo of Colobus guereza By Duncan Wright (User:Sabine’s Sunbird) — personnal work, CC BY-SA 3.0 (wikipedia)

Primates:

(Definition taken from the PALEVOPRIM glossary)

Order (monophyletic group; sharing the same common ancestor) of mammals that appears in the early Cenozoic and today includes several hundred species. Primates are generally rare in fossil sites. Often linked to tropical forest environments, their diets are diverse (insectivores, fruit eaters, folivores, omnivores).

Hominins:

(Definition taken from the PALEVOPRIM glossary)

A group within primates that appears in the late Miocene and includes Homo sapiens and all species that are closer to Homo sapiens than chimpanzees. From the common ancestor we share with chimpanzees, two evolutionary branches have emerged: that of chimpanzees and that of humans. There is no consensus within the scientific community (including within PALEVOPRIM!) On the formal name of the human branch: family Hominidae for some (the “hominids”), Hominina sub-tribe for others. (the “hominins”).

Paranthropus boisei By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen — Own work by uploader, http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html, CC BY-SA 3.0 (wikipédia)

Ruminants:

Herbivorous mammals practicing “rumination”, that is, the act of remasting food after ingestion. Concretely, it corresponds to the return of food from the rumen (1st “stomach”) to the mouth to be chewed and impregnated with saliva.

Organization of a tooth

Hypsodont:

This is a term used to refer to a set of teeth with a “high” crown as in horses or deer.

Brachyodont:

This is a term used to refer to a dentition with the teeth having a “low” crown as in hominids.

Bunodont:

This is a term used to refer to a tooth with rounded cusps.

Lophodont:

This is a term used to refer to a molar with transverse ridges.

Dental patterns of upper molars of placental mammals. Size differences have not been taken into account. Modified after © Jean-Louis Hartenberger

Dental micro-wear:

These are micrometric marks that result from abrasion with food debris during chewing. These textures vary depending on the diet.

Isotope:

Isotopes of certain chemical elements are atoms whose nucleus shares the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons. For example, carbon 14 has 2 more neutrons than the element carbon, carbon 12.

Isotope ratio:

It corresponds to the ratio of the number of atoms of two isotopes in the same sample, for example the enamel of a tooth.

Biodiversity hotspot:

A biodiversity hotspot is a region characterized by a high rate of endemism (at least 1500 species of vertebrates and vascular plants, i.e. more than 5% of the endemic species on the planet!) It is also characterized by its endangered biodiversity: at the level of hot spots, 70% or more of natural habitats have already been destroyed. 34 hot spots have been identified on the surface of the planet.

Photo of Cervus Timorensis (cerf rusa) by Fayez — https://www.flickr.com/photos/kaizat/3468859789/, CC BY 2.0 (wikipedia)

Endemic species:

An endemic species is a species that is found only in one region of the world. Such a species, if it were to disappear from the region where it is found, would be lost forever.

Invasive species:

An invasive species is a species which, being outside its original distribution area, is able to adapt to its new environment, proliferates in an uncontrolled way and goes so far as to modify the natural environment, impacting other animal and plant species. This is the case of the rusa deer (above) in New Caledonia. After habitat destruction, invasive species are recognized as the second cause of biodiversity loss!

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