The ages of 82 grey seals of known age from 1 to 10 yr were determined from growth layer groups in the cementum, readily seen in longitudinal sections 150 μm thick viewed under transmitted light. The sample of teeth was read five times in a series of blind replicates.
With only one reading, an accuracy of 84% was achieved. This increased to 93% on the basis of three readings but improved only marginally to 94% when all five readings were considered. Accuracy was best in the middle range of ages (3–6 yr) which are the critical years for estimating age-specific reproductive rates in population models.