Samantha Lyon, MS, is a 2018 graduate of the MS Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England

Thesis Committee:

  • Beth A. Kaplin, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Lisabeth Willey, PhD, Committee Member


Senescence, lynx, wolverine, teeth, dentition

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Senescence is the age-related progressive deterioration of an organism over time upon reaching maturity. While Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and wolverines (Gulo gulo) have been extensively studied in regard to their physical characteristics, behavior, life cycle, and habitat, there is limited data on the damage and wear of their teeth, which are excellent indicators of health and overall condition of an organism. The goal of this study was to identify if senescence in conjunction with foraging strategy is associated with dental deterioration and how these factors could affect quality of life. I worked with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research in Trondheim, Norway to assess skulls from their laboratory as well as storage unit within the NTNU University Museum for this study. Individuals identifiable by maturity and sex were used resulting in a total of 61 lynx and 44 wolverines studied. Dentition was visually assessed to determine degree of wear and what types of damage were sustained. Lynx, which are obligate carnivores, were found to have virtually no wear on average on their canines and premolars whereas the wolverines, being facultative scavengers, also had little wear on their premolars and molars but their canines were worn to a smooth tip on average. Wolverines exhibited significantly more wear and damage than lynx. Future studies pertaining to the relationship of senescence and dental health could substantiate findings provided they are able to obtain data from not only a large quantity of specimens from a species, but also equal amounts of each sex and variety of ages particularly from early maturity to geriatric status.


Samantha Lyon

ORCID Scholar ID# : 0000-0003-0831-8913