How scientists determine the age of wild animals

07/30/2013 | National Geographic News

Determining the age of wild animals can be a challenge without the use of X-rays or postmortem biological markers, but there are some tricks, according to experts. Physical characteristics that provide clues vary among species, but they may include tooth wear, facial flanges and wrinkles in some primate species and hair characteristics and muscle tone in big cats. Fish present a tougher challenge because aging requires postmortem evaluation of an ear bone, and the relevant marker isn't present in fish that live in the tropics.

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