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1 April 2005 HIBERNATION IS RECORDED IN LOWER INCISORS OF RECENT AND FOSSIL GROUND SQUIRRELS (SPERMOPHILUS)
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Abstract

Incremental dentin and associated enamel, features visible on the surface of lower incisors, were characterized for 3 species of ground squirrels (Spermophilus): Pleistocene and Recent S. elegans, Recent S. richardsonii, and Recent S. parryii. A hibernation mark was evident in incisor dentin and enamel, most characteristically as a sleeve of enamel terminating basally adjacent to medially depressed dentin with indistinct and often very fine increments. This mark was absent in juveniles but present in older animals of both sexes for at least 6 weeks after hibernation, eventually being lost through growth and wear of the incisor. Temporal association with hibernation was confirmed from specimens of S. richardsonii with known dates of hibernation. Parturition and onset of lactation were usually associated with reduction in thickness of dentin increments but could not be recognized unambiguously. Combining wear stage of cheek teeth with the presence and location of the hibernation mark allowed placement of many specimens into age and season categories at time of death (young of year, early-season adults, and late-season adults). Examination of lower incisors of Pleistocene S. elegans from Porcupine Cave in central Colorado showed that hibernation was recorded in fossils and confirmed the utility of event-anchored incremental dentin in elucidating taphonomic questions.

H. Thomas Goodwin, Gail R. Michener, Daniel Gonzalez, and Caroline E. Rinaldi "HIBERNATION IS RECORDED IN LOWER INCISORS OF RECENT AND FOSSIL GROUND SQUIRRELS (SPERMOPHILUS)," Journal of Mammalogy 86(2), 323-332, (1 April 2005). https://doi.org/10.1644/04-MAMM-A-034R.1
Accepted: 1 August 2004; Published: 1 April 2005
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