Accuracy of Cementum Age Assignments for Black Bears

Photo by Jeff Keay
Photo by Jeff Keay

Keay, J. A. 1995. Accuracy of cementum age assignments for black bears. Calif. Fish and Game 81(3):113-121.

ABSTRACT: The accuracy of assigned black bear (Ursus americanus) ages based on cementum annuli counts of teeth was assessed. Ages assigned by two independent experienced observers were statistically different, but biologically unimportant for most management purposes. Discrepancies between the assigned ages of two premolars extracted during the same year increased with animal age. Assigned ages were accurate for animals less than 6 yr old, but tended to underestimate true ages as animal age increased. Observed discrepancies could be important when reporting an early age of first reproduction, when calculating age specific reproduction or survival, or when managing small populations.