Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Anthropology

Advisor

Ungar, Peter S.

Reader

Lessner, Daniel J

Second Reader

Walker, James M.

Third Reader

Hare Jr. , Laurence

Abstract

Dental microwear analysis is a very useful tool when trying to infer the diet of a particular organism. By studying the use-wear scars left on the enamel of the tooth due to eaten objects, one can infer the diet of the organism because certain types of food leave certain types of scars. For example, the consumption of tree parts produces pits, while the consumption of grasses produces striated scratches (Ungar et al., 2007). Thus, based on the type of microwear, the diet of the organism in question can be deduced, which indicates the type of environment that it lives in. In this study, rodents of three different species (Mastomys natalensis, Meriones libycus, and Praomys jacksoni) from differing environments were examined. Scale-sensitive fractal analysis was used to compare the microwear of these three species in order to determine if there were any differences in microwear, and if there were, the source of these differences were examined. This study showed that the central tendencies of the microwear did not differ significantly, but the variation in dispersion of microwear did.

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