A tooth wear scoring scheme for age estimation of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) under field conditions

Marti, Iris Andrea; Ryser, Marie Pierre (2018). A tooth wear scoring scheme for age estimation of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) under field conditions. European journal of wildlife research, 64(4) Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s10344-018-1198-6

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Within the framework of conservation actions for the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), ageing of individuals is required to assess suitability for translocation and to investigate population dynamics and disease epidemiology. We aimed to develop a standardised ageing tool for free-ranging Eurasian lynx, which would be non-invasive, time- and cost-effective, and applicable under field conditions. We used tooth pictures of 140 free-ranging lynx of known age from Switzerland. Tooth colour, calculus, number of incisor teeth and canine, premolar and molar tooth wear were recorded according to pre-defined criteria. Statistical comparisons among the categories of each criterion revealed significant differences for all criteria. Tooth colour and canine tooth morphology showed obvious and consistent alterations with age. Together with the molar tooth shape, premolar tooth tips, incisor teeth and amount of calculus, they pictured the age-related changes in lynx dentition. Crown fractures, enamel flaking and open pulp cavities were observed with an increasing prevalence over age but were also sporadically seen in juveniles. Based on the obtained results, we developed a classification scheme distinguishing six age classes: < 1 year, 1–2 years, 3–6 years, 7–9 years, 10–13 years, ≥ 14 years. The scheme was subsequently tested with the same lynx. Classification success rates of different readers ranged from 69 to 88% but errors did not exceed one age class. The homogenous tooth replacement pattern observed in lynx < 1 year allowed us to develop a separate ageing chart to age juveniles in months. The proposed scheme is a promising tool to objectively assign lynx to meaningful age categories.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Veterinary Public Health / Herd Health Management
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Center for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)

UniBE Contributor:

Marti, Iris Andrea, Ryser, Marie Pierre


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Pamela Schumacher

Date Deposited:

05 Jun 2019 10:11

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:28

Publisher DOI:






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