We count rings on trees. Is it possible to EXACTLY determine the age of a dog, or living human being? Beyond an educated guess?
Exactly? No. Not unless you look at their birth certificate, or hospital delivery records.
Can’t you just cut him open and count the rings?
No exact way, but I believe most vets can guess an approximate age by looking at the dog’s teeth.
This brings up an interesting topic…
Isn’t there any fluid/process/hormone in our body whose magnitude/rate varies by a certain fixed/predictable quantity with age ?
you could have a look at the telomerones (sp?). They get snipped shorter every cell division although I am not sure how reliable that is.
My old dog (now sadly deceased) adopted us as an adult. We took her to three vets over the years, but when prompted none of them cared to hazard a guess as to how old she was.
Well, for bears, scientists do something like that; they remove a tooth, slice off a bit, and count the rings. Might work for dogs, too.
[hijack] Reminds me of a little pony we got a few years ago. At the time we adopted her, she was the youngest AND the oldest member of the family.
(new to the family, but at 42, several years older than my wife or I).
Now she’s dead. Has anyone else ever buried a pony using just a shovel? Took me quite a while. (TMI warning: for a minute there, with the four legs sticking up out of the ground, I thought I’d have to nail a sheet of plywood on top and make it an outdoor table.) [/hijack]
The Master has sort of spoken on this topic.
I remember hearing years ago of the following method of determining a person’s age; if it ever worked, and my memory is not playing tricks on me, it should be equally useful for dogs.
As you may know, the body uses left handed amino acids exclusively, and these get laid down in the dentine of our teeth when our adult teeth form, after which they pretty much sit there throughout our lives. While sitting there, they racemize - that is, they slowly alter their form to the state where they are half left handed and half right handed. This happens in a slow random process that is a function of the temperature. Although mouth temperature isn’t perfectly constant, it is relatively close to body temp most of the time. Hence, by knowing the racemization rate at that temperature, one can look at the chemical handedness of the amino acids in the dentine and deduce how many years it’s been since the tooth formed (or did they use enamel instead of dentine? I can’t recall now). Not perfectly exact, but I believe it was used to check some claims of extreme age made by native peoples in a South American tribe. Rather than the touted 200 y.o. they turned out to be in their nineties.
There’s also the presence of old dog smell.
You could just ask him.