DENTal TRIbology and food controls: an innovative combination
for characterizing the evolution of herbivorous mammalian communities

Principal investigators

Type of project

TRIDENT is a Projet de Recherche Collaboratif of the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (2017-2021).

Research question

TRIDENT is an interdisciplinary project combining human and technic competences in agronomy (Mourier Farm Station), tribology (Institut Pprime) and paleontology (PALEVOPRIM). TRIDENT aims at investigating the ecology of herbivorous mammals through dietary behaviour analysis.

For this, the project will develop dietary reconstruction models thanks to new technical advances of textural surface analysis applied to a dataset resulting from an ambitious controlled-food testing on domestic sheep.

We have found that different diets generate different types of abrasion on sheep teeth and that the ingestion of dust do not overwhelmed the biotic signal. This reinforces the relevance of dental microwear texture analysis to explore the ecology of extinct species of mammals.


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Iconic publications

Berlioz, É., Kostopoulos, D.S., Blondel, C., Merceron, G., 2017. Feeding ecology of Eucladoceros ctenoides as a proxy to track regional environmental variations in Europe during the early Pleistocene. Comptes Rendus Palevol.

Blondel, C., Rowan, J., Merceron, G., Bibi, F., Negash, E., Barr, W.A., Boisserie, J.-R., 2018. Feeding ecology of Tragelaphini (Bovidae) from the Shungura Formation, Omo Valley, Ethiopia: Contribution of dental wear analyses. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Francisco, A., Blondel, C., Brunetière, N., Ramdarshan, A., Merceron, G., 2018. Enamel surface topography analysis for diet discrimination. A methodology to enhance and select discriminative parameters. Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties 6, 015002.

Merceron, G., Novello, A., Scott, R.S., 2016a. Paleoenvironments inferred from phytoliths and Dental Microwear Texture Analyses of meso-herbivores. Geobios 49, 135–146.

Merceron, G., Ramdarshan, A., Blondel, C., Boisserie, J.-R., Brunetiere, N., Francisco, A., Gautier, D., Milhet, X., Novello, A., Pret, D., 2016b. Untangling the environmental from the dietary: dust does not matter. Proceeding Royal Society of London. B. 283, 20161032.

Ramdarshan, A., Blondel, C., Brunetière, N., Francisco, A., Gautier, D., Surault, J., Merceron, G., 2016. Seeds, browse, and tooth wear: a sheep perspective. Ecology and Evolution 6, 5559–5569.

Ramdarshan, A., Blondel, C., Gautier, D., Surault, J., Merceron, G., 2017. Overcoming sampling issues in dental tribology: Insights from an experimentation on sheep. Palaeontologia Electronica.



Tél. : +33 (0)5 49 45 37 53

Guylaine REYNAUD

Tél. : +33 (0)5 49 45 37 26

Fax : +33.(0)5 49 45 40 17


Université de Poitiers – UFR SFA


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