Aging mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella): refining methods of tooth eruption and wear and bone fusion

Natalie D. Munro, Guy Bar-Oz, Aaron J. Stutz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper refines current methods for aging mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella), one of the most common species hunted by prehistoric humans in the southern Levant. Most importantly, we present a new tooth wear scheme for aging the lower deciduous fourth premolar (dP4), the lower permanent molars (M1, M2, M3) and the lower fourth premolar (P4) of the gazelle. Broader wear stages for complete mandibles and individual teeth and bone fusion stages are also provided. Finally, a comparison of the tooth wear and bone fusion data indicates that the two methods can be linked at the important transition when a gazelle reaches adulthood (ca. 18 months of age). The completion of the fusion of the gazelle skeleton corresponds directly to the replacement of the dP4 by the P4 and the beginning of wear of the M3. The coincidence of these aging indicators allows for direct comparison of gazelle bone fusion and tooth wear data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-763
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge Tsila Shariv, curator of the zoological collections at Tel Aviv University, Rivka Rabinovich, curator of the zoological collections at the Hebrew University, Judith Chupasko, collections manager and Mark Omura, curatorial assistant at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology for providing convenient and friendly access to their gazelle skeletal collections. Lidar Sapir-Hen aided in the determination of tooth wear and eruption stages based at Tel Aviv University and photographed each of the gazelle mandibles of known age from the Tel Aviv University collection. Austin (Chad) Hill assisted with the recording of bone fusion data in the Hebrew University collections. Special thanks to Gideon Hartman for drafting Fig. 1 and Vera Damov for drawing the sketches for Fig. 2 . Thanks to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions on an earlier draft of this paper. This research was supported by grants from the Israel Science Foundation (# 147/04 to GBO) and the National Science Foundation (BCS-0618937 to NDM).


  • Age stages
  • Bone fusion
  • Mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella)
  • Southern Levant
  • Tooth eruption
  • Tooth wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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