Food tests : Pigs

Pigs are an ideal model for studying the diets of primates, especially hominins. In fact, pigs and hominins share a similar dental morphology (called bunodonte) as well as high food plasticity.

Food trials on pigs were carried out as part of the projects Diet-Scratches and ALIHOM, at the GenEsi-INRA unit in Lusignan-Rouillé.

The pigs were divided into different groups to which a different diet was provided (basic flour alone or with hazelnuts, barley kernels, corn kernels …).

The results of these tests will make it possible to test several hypotheses (below):

Hypothesis n° 1: Are eco-indicators likely to distinguish subtle differences in diets?

 Work in progress…

Hypothesis n° 2: Does the consumption of abrasive and tough plants have an influence on dental wear at the macroscopic and microscopic scale of premolars and molars?

Work in progress…

Hypothesis n ° 3: Does the low to moderate consumption of plant type C4 * have an influence on the isotopic composition of dental tissues?

Work in progress…

*essential food source for fossil primates

Hypothesis n° 4: Does the consumption of hard seeds influence macroscopic and microscopic dental wear of premolars and molars?

Protocol: Sample of 29 pigs divided into 4 groups to which a different diet wad provided: 10 hazelnuts in-shell per day, 20% corn kernels, 30% barley seeds or 100% cereal flour. For each specimen, we studied both the crushing and shearing facets of molars and deciduous premolars.

Results: The subsampling analysis shows that the consumption of different seeds generates different dental microwear textures, mainly impacting the parameters related to the relief of wear surfaces. The association of crushing and shearing facets into the analyses improves the distinction between the dietary groups.

For more information: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2021.110415

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