ALImentation of early HOMinins: experimental models and dental archives
Evaluate the role of fallback foods in niche partitioning
and the selection of cranio-dental phenotypes among early hominins
- Gildas MERCERON (PALEVOPRIM)
Type of project
ALIHOM is a research project funded by the region Nouvelle-Aquitaine, 2019-2023.
ALIHOM project aims at: measuring the effects of physical and chemical properties of prefered or fallback foods on dental tissues through controlled-feeding experiments on domestic pigs ; reinterpreting dental data of hominins from the Omo Valley (Ethiopia) in light of these experimental results.
This project articulates with Margot Louail’s PhD thesis. Micro- and macroscopic dental abrasion and isotopic composition of the enamel of experimental pigs (a total of about 170 pigs) are under study.
The first results on tooth wear show differences in dental micro-abrasion resulting from seeds of different size and hardness (even in small quantities), as well as from different plants from the herbaceous stratum.
These results strengthen our understanding of the mechanisms of dental wear formation for a better interpretation of the fossil data sets (suids and primates).
The ALIHOM project is led by PALEVOPRIM in collaboration with the Nouvelle-Aquitaine INRAE unit GenESI, and cofounded by the ANR project DIET-Scratches. It also relies on a regional partnership with the CIIRPO (Ferme du Mourier, Haute-Vienne). ALIHOM also associates the skill in material sciences of the Institute Pprime and in paleobiodiversity of UMR PACEA (Bordeaux). The Lyon Geology Laboratory LGL-TPE and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are also collaborating to this project.