Aging live Antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals

This study describes a method for extracting post-canine or incisor teeth from live antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) and southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) respectively and their use to determine age in a field situation. Dental elevators were used to loosen the teeth from the alveolus and periodental ligament. Most teeth were removed within l-2 min and a total of 214 and 81 teeth were collected by this method from antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals respectively. No seal recaptured at intervals up to a year after a tooth was extracted showed signs of infection or distress related to removal of the tooth. Teeth were thin-sectioned for the purpose of aging. In both species cementum growth layer groups were a more satisfactory indicator of age than dentinal growth layer groups. Estimates of age from cementum growth layers were confirmed for Antarctic fur seals using seals which had been tagged as pups up to 16 yr before sampling.


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Authors: Arnbom, T. A., Lunn, N. J., Boyd, I. L., Barton, T.

1 January, 1992
Marine Mammal Science / 8
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