Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Anthropology (Forensic Anthropology Option)
Department or School/College
Department of Anthropology
Ashley McKeown, David Dyer
Bone modification, Carnivore scavenging, Taphonomy, Wolf
University of Montana
Forensic anthropologists are often asked to analyze and interpret human remains that have been modified or damaged by predators and/or scavengers (White 2000; James et al. 2005; Dupras et al. 2006). The goal of this study is to determine whether it is possible to distinguish carnivore tooth mark characteristics from other carnivore tooth mark characteristics through two separate analyses: first by examination of tooth pitting and second from carnivore tooth and jaw measurements. This is accomplished by visual analysis and measurements of tooth pits left on faunal bones processed by an experimental wolf group as well as carnivore tooth and jaw measurements from a study done by Murmann et al. (2006) and measurements done by the author from samples located in the Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum. In the first analysis, independent t-tests demonstrate that pit lengths found on long bone epiphyses that are less than 4mm are likely to be made by carnivores the same size or smaller than a jackal. If pit lengths found on long bone epiphyses are between 4mm and 6mm, they are likely to have been made by carnivores roughly the same size as baboons, bears, dogs, and wolves and if the pit lengths found on long bone epiphyses measure greater than 6mm, they are likely made by carnivores about the same size as hyenas and lions. Pit breadths between 2mm and 4mm found on long bone epiphyses are associated with carnivores in the size bracket of baboons, jackals, bears and dogs. Pit breadths larger than 4mm found on long bone epiphyses are associated with larger carnivores such as hyenas, lions and wolves. The second analysis, a discriminant function analysis using tooth and jaw measurements distinguishes carnivore tooth mark characteristics from other carnivore tooth mark characteristics left on scavenged remains through the use of the Murmann et al. (2006) measurements with an accuracy of between 75.5% based on “leave one out” cross-validation and 78.3% based on the accuracy of classification of a test sample.
Foust, Jennifer L., "THE USE OF TOOTH PIT AND TOOTH/JAW MEASUREMENTS TO IDENTIFY CARNIVORE TAXA RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGE ON SCAVENGED BONE" (2010). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 1102.
© Copyright 2010 Jennifer L. Foust