Grin and Bear it

The Booth Museum collections have once again been consulted for scientific research. Spyridoula (Roula) Pappa is a research student at the Royal Holloway College of the University of London.

Spyridoula (Roula) Pappa at the Booth Museum
Spyridoula (Roula) Pappa at the Booth Museum

She is studying micro wear patterns on the teeth of modern bears and then interpreting the feeding habits of prehistoric species of bears from the Ice Ages. Modern bears have quite particular diets (for example the giant panda only eats bamboo) and every type of food they eat leaves characteristic traces on the teeth which can be compared with extinct species. Using this data it will also be possible to interpret prehistoric climates.

Roula takes silicone casts of the teeth and then is able to study the wear patterns more easily. The Booth’s collections contain many examples of bear including, Brown, Grizzly and Polar bears.

Roula comes from Agrinio on the western coast of Greece.

John Cooper, Keeper of Natural Sciences

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