Testing pulp cavity closure to estimate individual age of Felis silvestris (Carnivora: Felidae) [Ověřování methody meření průměru dřeňové dutiny pro odhad individuálního věku kočky divoké (Felis silvestris) (Carnivora: Felidae)]
To determine individual age of wildcat specimens in museum collections, the non-destructive method of measuring the pulp cavity closure of canines in relation to the tooth diameter was assessed. In 31 skulls of Felis silvestris from the collection of the University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany, the mandibles were X-rayed and the pulp cavity of the lower canines measured using ImageJ. This non destructive, relatively cheap and fast method is only applicable in young individuals of wildcats up to the age of about 10 months, but not beyond, as in later years the pulp cavity diameter does not change noticeably enough with age. To reduce measurement errors, only one observer should work on the material and isolated canines or single mandibles which can be placed flat in the X-ray chamber should be used. The study was done with a small sample only, but the limitations of the method in wildcats became apparent with the used sample already so that no more specimens were studied.