A Tale of Two Tusks



Tusks; Mammoths; Narwhals.


A record of the environment in which an Arctic Woolly Mammoth and a Narwhal existed is embedded in their dentitions. Variations in
the landscapes and marine environments in which the animals lived is recorded in their post-mortem tusks. Odontographic evidence
stored in teeth can provide an historic record of an animals’ life experiences.


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Author Biography

Geoffrey H Sperber, School of Dentistry, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

: BSc(Hon), BDS, MSc, PhD, Dr Med
ORCID Number: 0000-0002-2590-6197


Wooller MJ, Bataille C et al. Lifetime mobility of an Arctic woolly mammoth. Science 373:806-808. (2021).

Uno KT et al. Palaeogeogr.Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol 559:109962 (2020).

Nweeia MJ, Eichmiller FC et al. Vestigial tooth anatomy and tusk nomenclature for Monodon monoceros. Anat Rec 295(6):1006-1016 (2012).

Nweeia MJ, Eichmiller FC et al. Sensory ability of the narwhal tooth organ system. Anat Rec 297(4):599-617 (2014).

Dietz R, Desforges J-P et al. Analysis of narwhal tusks reveals lifelong feeding ecology and mercury exposure. Current Biol. 31:2012-2019 (2021).

Chambault P, Tervo OM et al. The impact of rising sea temperatures on an Arctic top predator, the narwhal. Sci Rep 10:18678 (2020).




How to Cite

Sperber, G. H. (2021). A Tale of Two Tusks. South African Dental Journal, 76(09), 515. Retrieved from https://journals.assaf.org.za/index.php/sadj/article/view/12660