Assessing the age of Reeves' muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) by scoring wear of the mandibular molars


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The skulls and mandibles of 50 (28 male, 22 female) captive muntjac Muntiacus reevesi of exactly known age and four (two male, two female) of approximately known age were examined for their molar wear patterns. A procedure for scoring was based on earlier published work (Brown & Chapman, 1990, 1991) for fallow Dama dama and red deer Cervus elaphus, respectively. Specimens were also available from 17 male and 13 female wild muntjac whose approximate ages were known. The data show a curvilinear relationship between age and toothwear score, with increasing variability as the score increases. The predicted age and upper and lower limits of 95% prediction intervals are given for captive and wild muntjac deer. The range between upper and lower limits, though greater than was found for fallow and red deer, may still be a useful guide for assessing animals of unknown age.