New Lethbridge College lab focuses cementum analysis of wildlife teeth

Lethbridge College’s Centre for Technology, Environment, and Design has launched a new research initiative which includes a new Wildlife Analytics Lab. It is the first of its kind in Canada. The new initiative focuses on cementum analysis of wildlife teeth. It’s a technique which examines the hard tissue that covers the root of a tooth to help figure out the age, reproductive history and migratory pattern of the wildlife species. 

“You inside of teeth there’s a thing called cementum which you might guess holds teeth in place cement and in it there’s annuli. Just like in a tree where we have growth rings, the same principles apply. Unfortunately, with a tree you can just cut it and look at the rings. In a tooth. You need to go through quite elaborate chemical process to get at these annuli that are sort of embedded within the teeth roots. So our lab has all the equipment, brand new equipment to run through that analysis process and provide age estimates back to anyone who’s interested. Who’s interested can range from a hunter or a naturalist who’s found a dead animal or killed an animal for hunting purposes and wants to know how old it is. But on the larger scale, agencies researchers are often interested in knowing how old animals are for management and research purposes.”

More than $145,000 was provided in establishing the lab by the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society. 

“We have for some time been interested in and we do send and submit teeth already down to the States. But we were interested in a made in Alberta solution and save us time and money and whatnot. So we got in communications with the college and they were willing and able to pursue the activity or pursue the lab.

More information on the lab can be found on the college’s website. 



Angela Stewart

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