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Data from: Estimating age and age class of harvested hog deer from eye lens mass using frequentist and Bayesian methods


Forsyth, David M.; Garel, Mathieu; McLeod, Steve R. (2016), Data from: Estimating age and age class of harvested hog deer from eye lens mass using frequentist and Bayesian methods, Dryad, Dataset,


Estimation of the age or age class of harvested animals is often necessary to interpret the condition and dynamics of wildlife populations. The mammalian eye lens continues to grow until death and hence the dry mass of the eye lens has commonly been used to estimate the age of mammals. The method requires the relationship between eye lens mass and age to be parameterized using individuals of known age. However, predicting age is complicated by the curvilinear relationship between eye lens mass and age. We used frequentist and Bayesian methods to predict the ages and age classes of harvested hog deer Axis porcinus from eye lens mass. Deer were tagged as calves and harvested 4–177 months later in southeastern Australia. Lenses were extracted, fixed and oven-dried. Of the five growth models evaluated, the Lord model best described the relationship between age and eye lens dry mass (R2 = 95%). The precision of age predictions obtained using the Lord model in a Bayesian mode of inference decreased with increasing eye lens dry mass, with the size of the 95% CI equaling or exceeding predicted age for hog deer > 6 years. However, most predictions of hog deer age will have reasonable precision because few animals > 6 years are harvested. Linear discriminant analysis had high predictive power for classifying hog deer to four widely-used age classes (juvenile, yearling, prime-age and senescent). The Bayesian method is recommended for inverse non-linear prediction of age and the frequentist linear discriminant analysis method is recommended for estimating age class. We provide tables of correspondence between hog deer eye lens dry mass and predicted age and age class. Our statistical methods can be used to estimate age and age class for other mammalian species, including from other ageing techniques such as tooth eruption-wear criteria.

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