Cold stress in captive great apes recorded in incremental lines of dental cementum.
In: Folia Primatologica, No. 1: pp. 21-31
Incremental lines in dental cementum of museum specimens of 11 free-ranging great apes were compared to the respective structures in 5 captive specimens of known age-at-death, and with many known life-history parameters. While the dental cementum of the free-ranging apes was regularly structured into alternating dark and light bands, 4 out of 5 captive animals showed marked irregularities in terms of hypomineralized bands which could all be dated to the year 1963. Cementum preservation was insufficient in the fifth specimen and did not permit such a differentiation. All 4 captive apes had been kept in a zoo located in the northern hemisphere, where 1963 was characterized by an extremely cold winter. Since cold stress is a calcium-consuming process, the lack of available calcium in newly forming cementum could be responsible for the observed hypomineralization. The appositional growth characteristics of dental cementum serve as a record for such life-history events. Copyright (C) 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel.