ELEMENTAL COMPOSITION OF INCISORS IN NOVA SCOTIA MOOSE: EVALUATION OF A POPULATION WITH ABNORMAL INCISOR BREAKAGE
This study compared the concentrations of major and trace elements in the enamel of incisors from moose (Alces alces andersoni) in Cape Breton Highlands, where the incidence of incisor tooth breakage was believed to be unusually high, and moose in southwest Nova Scotia (A. a. americana) where there was no evidence of breakage. Our goal was to determine which elements, if any, might be related to the incisor breakage in moose from Cape Breton Highlands. There was a positive relationship between age and frequency of incisor breakage, and most moose had a broken I2 incisor by 4 years of age in the Cape Breton Highlands. We analyzed I2 incisors for 51 trace elements with Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. Concentrations of 8 elements, including barium, beryllium, cadmium, cobalt, lead, tin, strontium, and yttrium, were lower (P < 0.05) in incisors from Cape Breton Highlands; gallium had a higher concentration. Reduced intake of barium, beryllium, and strontium is linked to depressed growth and reduced calcification of bones and teeth.
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