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Various methods exist for measuring and analyzing dental wear patterns in mam-mals, and these patterns have been extensively studied in ungulates. Mesowear has proven useful as a method to compare large numbers of individuals, particularly fossil individuals, observe trends through time or between groups, and estimate paleoenvi-ronmental conditions. Levels of attrition (tooth-on-tooth wear) and abrasion (tooth-on-food wear) can be readily compared by observing the shape of the cusp and relative crown height of the tooth. This study uses a modified method of mesowear analysis, examining actual cusp angles of the population of Tapirus polkensis from the Gray Fossil Site, a densely canopied, hickory and oak dominated forest located in Gray, Tennes-see. Crown height and cusp angle were measured for 38 specimens arranged into eruption series from young juveniles to old adults. Results found a strong correlation between eruption series and cusp angle with a steady increase in mean angle as the individuals increase in age. A strong correlation between cusp angle and crown height was also found. Overall, the population showed relatively low wear rates, as would be expected of a forest-dwelling browser. As a mesowear analysis across all age groups for a population has not been conducted before, this study could be useful for measuring relative wear rates at different life stages and could be applied across other com-munities.

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Copyright: May 2020 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.