Food tests : Sheep

Sheep are an ideal model for studying ruminant diets. In general, ruminants are the most abundant primary consumers in many Neogene and Quaternary deposits. Thus their eating habits, once reconstituted, will provide information on the composition of past vegetation.

The feeding trials on ewes were carried out within the framework of the ANR TriDent, on an experimental farm under the supervision of the Interregional Center for Information and Research in Ovine Production (CIIRPO) and Institut de l’Élevage.

The ewes were divided into different groups, each corresponding to a distinct diet (grasses, clovers alone or with chestnuts, barley, corn, etc.).

The objective is to test the effects on the state of tooth abrasion after several weeks.

Several hypotheses were tested (below):

Hypothesis n ° 1: Can dust mask the signal on the diet carried by dental micro-wear?

_ Protocol: Sample of 40 ewes divided into 4 groups to which a different alimentation was provided: Grass or clover with or without “dust” (micrometric sediment particles).

_ Results: There is no need for the presence of “dust” to generate differences in dental abrasion, food is sufficient!

_ To know more : https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2016.1032

Hypothesis n ° 2: What parameters of the seeds control tooth abrasion?

_ Protocol: Sample of 40 ewes divided into 4 groups to which a different alimentation was provided: 100% clover, 75% clover and 25% chestnut, 75% clover and 25% corn or 75% clover and 25% barley.

_ Results: There is a significant difference between the ewes which ate barley and clover. The texture parameters do not seem to correlate with the hardness of the seeds.

_ To know more : https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ece3.2241

Hypothesis n ° 3: Do all the teeth, all the facets provide the same signal?

 

_ Protocol: Sample of 30 ewes divided into 3 groups to which a different alimentation was provided: 100% clover, 75% clover and 25% barley or 100% grass. For each specimen, the lower and upper molars are scanned.

_ Results: It is not necessary to artificially increase our fossil samples by integrating different facets or different teeth. Their different functions, when grouped together, can mask different food categories.

_ To know more: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02101056/.

Hypothesis n ° 4: Can the textural analysis of dental micro-wear allow us to go further?

 

_ Protocol: Analysis by sub-sampling of the dental surfaces of 3 batches representing 3 species with different diets (Alcelaphus buselaphus, Alces alces and Cephalophus silvicultor).

_ Results: By sub-sampling, parameters are identified allowing more efficient discrimination.

_ To know more : https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2051-672X/aa9dd3/meta

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