Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:50 PM
AGING THE FOSSIL DWARF TAPIR, TAPIRUS POLKENSIS, BASED ON COMPARISONS TO EXTANT TAPIR DENTAL ERUPTION AND WEAR
The Gray Fossil Site (GFS) has the highest concentration of excellently preserved tapirs of any known fossil locality. This large concentration of tapir individuals allow for a great deal of work to be done on an animal, although extant, about little is known. Although smaller than the extant species this dwarf tapir, Tapirus polkensis, shares a near identical dentition. Here ages for individuals of T. polkensis from the Gray Fossil Site were assigned by comparing the state of the dentition to dental age data taken from The Baird’s Tapir Project of Costa Rica (Baird’s Tapirs, T. bairdii), which ranged from several months to over 7 years in age. Gross dental wear methods developed for aging individuals of extant tapir, T. terrestris, and the black rhino, Diceros bicornis, have been tested to attempt to further define individual tapirs older than 7 years. After all possible individuals of T. polkensis were aged; counts were taken of how many individuals were of a particular age and then compared to that of similar population data for large grazers.