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Dental Anthropology

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

1. The Human Dentition Given their role in chewing food, dental pathologies
II. Dental Phenetics and Phylogeny: Inferring History and patterns of tooth wear can indicate kinds of food
from Teeth eaten and other aspects of dietary behavior, including
111. The Environmental Interface: Teeth and Behavior food preparation techniques. Teeth can also exhibit
IV. Dental Indicators of Environmental Stress
incidental or intentional modifications, which reflect
patterns of cultural behavior. Finally, as the process
of tooth formation is highly canalized (i.e., buffered
from environmental perturbations), developmental
defects provide a general measure of environmental
GLOSSARY stress on a population. Researchers in several disci-
plines, including physical anthropology, archeology,
Antimere Corresponding teeth in the left and right sides of
paleontology, dentistry, genetics, embryology, and
a jaw (e.g., left and right upper first molars)
forensic science, conduct research that falls direct-
Carabelli's trait Morphological character derived from cin-
gulum of mesiolingual cusp of upper molars
ly or indirectly within the province of dental anthro-
Cingulum Bulge or shelf passing around the base of the
tooth crown
Cusp Pointed or rounded elevation on the occlusal (chew-
ing) surface of a tooth crown 1. THE HUMAN DENTITION
Isomere Corresponding teeth in the upper and lower jaws A. Terms and Concepts
(e.g., left upper and lower first molars)
Labret Ornament worn in and projecting from a hole(s) A tooth has two externally visible components, crown
pierced through the upper and lower lips and cheeks and root, and is made up of three distinct hard tissues,
Phenetics Classificatory method for adducing relationships enamel, dentine, and cementum, and one soft tissue,
among populations on the basis of phenotypic similarities the pulp, which provides the blood and nerve supply
Quadrant One half of the upper or lower dentition to the crown and root. Teeth are anchored in the
Shoveling Mesial and distal marginal ridges enclosing a bony alveoli of the upper and lower jaws by one or
central fossa on the lingual surface of the incisors more roots and the periodontal membrane. Terms of
orientation for teeth are mesial (toward the anatomi-
cal midline, or the point between the two central inci-
sors), distal (away from the midline); buccal (toward
DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY IS A FIELD OF INQUIRY the cheek), labial (toward the lip), lingual (toward the
that utilizes information obtained from the teeth of tongue), and occlusal (the chewing surface of a tooth).
either skeletal or modern human populations to re- [See Dental and Oral Biology, Anatomy.]
solve anthropological problems. Given their nature The reptilian dentition is homodont (generallyuni-
and function, teeth are used to address several kinds of form, single-cusped, conical teeth for grasping food
questions. First, teeth exhibit variables with a strong objects) and polyphyodont (multiple generations of
hereditary component that are useful in assessing pop- teeth). By contrast, the mammalian dentition is heter-
ulation relationships and evolutionary dynamics. odont (four types of teeth, each performing different

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Antimeres archeological series and Pleistocene hominid fossil re- exhibit mirror imaging. can be directly observed number fall within the area of dental morphologi. as the dentition interfaces is usually the most mesial element (e. on the other hand. Teeth preserve exceptionally well in the archeological lars. In the permanent denti. (e. M3) exhibit more environ. and num. In the two molar Thus. the only exception is in the postnatally by physical factors associated with masti- lower incisor district where the lateral incisor is the cation and disease factors related to the interplay of key tooth. mental to any inquiry relating to human skeletal re- oping teeth (e. When this concept was adapted to the human denti. servable in both extinct and extant human groups.g.. Premolars exhibit one buccal cusp. Because teeth are ob- types of teeth in mammals is Butler’s field theory. Thus. dermatoglyphics.g. a wide variety of dental variables are available districts. primary dentition. with distance from the key tooth.g. incisors. and studied in both skeletal and living populations cal variation. For humans. number of advantages are associated with the study lars) and two successional dentitions. whereas mains in both archeological and forensic contexts. I76 DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY functions) and biphyodont (only two generations of B. upper central directly with the environment.. and three molars per quadrant. by a relatively strict set of genetic-developmental pro- ber. for example. extracted teeth).e. A. morphology.. is a predictable . the key tooth in a given tooth district grams. he used the phrase tooth of short-term and long-term temporal trends. but isomeres differ in both mains.. variation increases dietary elements and a complex oral microbiota.g. one canine. two premo. whereas others reflect able (least stable). Variability Within each tooth district. teeth best reflect the genetic-developmental programs controlling tooth development. one canine. Preservability tion. referred to collectively as anterior teeth. through intraoral examinations. and two molars per quadrant. and mo. humans share with other mammals the presence of four distinctive For the resolution of anthropological problems. In the human of human dental variation. these normative characterizations of cusp and root Teeth. M1) are the most stable. useful in aging individual skeletons. background of a population. districts to describe eight morphological classes corre- sponding to the four types of teeth in the two jaws. On the other hand. there are two incisors. This is evident in both Holocene jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible). have one cusp and a 2. environmental and behavioral factors that impinge tween these extremes. permanent An important concept that relates to the different plaster casts. their development is controlled ary stability in terms of size. early devel. which makes teeth mentally induced variability. there is a “key” tooth. premolars. whereas the distal ele- C. most vari- multicusped premolars and molars are referred to col. record (due in part to the chemical properties of In the human dentition. Likewise. Upper molars are char. while the third molar is highly vari. there are two incisors. a tooth types (i. This may be related to the relatively protracted An accurate determination of age and sex is funda- period of tooth development in humans. and other acterized by four major cusps and three roots. human biologists interested in bio- lingual cusp. Teeth as Indicators of Age ments of a field are more susceptible to environmental effects. teeth are also modified incisor. One characteristic of the dentition. ables of interest to human osteologists can be observed lectively as posterior or cheek teeth. primary and permanent). 3. In a given tooth district. Incisors and canines. one For the most part. Variations on only in prehistoric and protohistoric skeletal remains. Why Study Teeth? teeth. Because teeth are critical in food-getting and food- which shows the most developmental and evolution. The the study of living populations. the four tooth types are enamel) and are frequently the best represented part found on both the left and right sides of the upper of a skeletal sample. they provide a valuable research tool for the analysis tion by A. chemical polymorphisms. Observability single root. some provide information on the genetic (least variable). whereas anatomical and physiological variables are limited to lower molars exhibit five cusps and two roots. The implication is that the key on individuals in a given population. and a single root. late developing teeth (e. lower first molar). processing behavior. size and morphology. Dahlberg.. canines. I . second molar variation falls be. the first molar is the most stable for analysis.

that moderate tooth crown development. they til recently. Variables that meet this requirement fall diameters are also associated with other dental vari- . In human populations. Recently devel- it is necessary to apply different standards to spatially oped techniques to measure the volume of individual and temporally circumscribed populations. physical anthropologists have been in.g. workers generally pre- It. the measurements reported most commonly are of the third molars (ca. Typically. Corre- terested in human population origins and relation. teeth provide a useful adjunct to patterns of epiphyseal fusion in age determination.g. where did Native Americans tion coefficients vary from about 0. degree of maximum crown length [mesiodistal (MD) diameter] crown wear and gradients of wear between the first. Tooth Size adolescence. and eruption se- to only a limited extent among recent human popula. crown component. significanceof the latent structures underlying the ma- ical inferences based on teeth have been limited un. including crown under the broad headings of tooth size. young. specific tooth dimensions.. who are they most closely related to?. this discussion dental development can be applied to all human is limited to metric and morphologic variables. 18 years of age). and old adult). For ex. body size. Although different Japanese and Ainu populations?). After the In studies of human tooth size variation (odontome- permanent dentition is completed with the eruption trics). crown and and root formation. groups. quence polymorphisms. and third molars allow researchers to estimate ameter]. component loadings for maxillary and ric skeletal traits. but little comparative volumetric ample.e. Because tooth but crown wear must be minimal or the landmarks wear in adulthood has a strong cultural component. During A. phism in tooth dimensions. This dimorphism is most pronounced in canine dimensions. A comparison of individ- ans would not be applicable to their medieval fore. measurements are re- adult age by decade or within broader age categories ported for crown height and intercuspal distances. (e. used for measurement are obliterated. (3) tion. Before the age of 12 years. FROM TEETH In the human dentition. (1) general size. Although variation in human tooth mandibular isomeres are similar. probably reflect some aspect of the genetic programs The derivation of historical relationships from den. Principal component analy- when did they arrive in the New World?) or have ses usually reveal that three to seven underlying com- more regional focus (e. histor. Many biological populations may not exhibit comparable component traits have been employed to address such questions. what is the relationship ponents account for 50-75% of the covariance between peoples of the Jomon culture and modern among the 32 crown dimensions. As root morphology. a high degree of dimen- sional intercorrelation exists. so tooth wear standards for modern Europe. teeth are the best and most readily available indicator of age. and maximum crown breadth [buccolingual (BL) di- second.. hyper- this genetically controlled sequence of events varies odontia (supernumerary teeth). the principles of aging children by stages of focus on tooth size and morphology. (2) anterior vs posterior teeth. In some instances. tal data requires variables with a significant genetic In addition to interdimensional correlations. As most historical analyses tions. jor tooth size components remains unknown. DENTAL PHENETICS AND sent data separately for male and female tooth diam- PHYLOGENY INFERRING HISTORY eters. blood. mitochondria1 DNA. DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY I77 sequence of developmental events. Because there is a slight but consis- tent dimorphism in tooth size. middle.g. ual crown diameters within a single population usu- bearers. Although the exact size and morphology has long been recognized. medieval Europeans exhibited much greater data are currently available. some of the primary latent structures involve including general morphology. i. and metric and nonmet. lation matrices among the 32 MD and BL diameters ships. calcification.30 to 0. and (4) premolars vs molars.60 between come from?. there is a modest sex dimor- peans. loadings. and eruption.. teeth are promising. is not independent of the size of all other teeth. genetic markers of the MD vs BL diameters. the size of one tooth Traditionally. hypodontia (missing teeth). pigmenta. ally shows that male teeth are 2-6% larger than those of females.. dermatoglyphic patterns. Historical questions can be posed on a broad (not including antimeres) show that interclass correla- geographic scale (e. degrees and rates of crown wear than modern Euro.

whereas Fig. Although some morphological variables exhibit sig- nificant sex differences (e. UI2. However. populations. For most crown and root traits mani- sion of certain morphologic traits (e. cingular ridges and tubercles). sions vary in degree from slight to pronounced.g.. some individuals exhibit a particular shoveling on U11 and U12. lower molars.g. there is variation in the form of recurring struc. quencies are generally reported for combined data on sors). Fig. . 1. for example. mesial and distal lingual marginal ridges) and tuberculum dentale (T. For tooth crowns. 2. frequencies and class frequency distributions for First. which can be expressed on structures may be exhibited as accessory marginal or all four upper and four lower central incisors. within field correlations in trait expression (cf. UC). to occlusal ridges (cf. Crown and Root Morphology sory ridge). 1. crown morphology. hyperodontia.. some extent.d. Morphological root traits are small-toothed (microdont) individuals are more likely most often defined in terms of variation in root num- to have missing teeth. DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY I78 ables.. Fig. or three roots. There is also a detectable but ber. For this reason. the hypocone fested as presence-absence variables. traits that have been operationally defined take the Crown morphology is characterized by high within- form of presence-absence variables. Fig. 2. Fig. tuberculum dentale on structure while others do not. two. and supernumerary cusps (cf. labial curvature of the upper central inci. presence expres- and Carabelli’s trait of the upper molars). weak relationship between crown size and the expres.. incisor a population. are more likely to have supernumerary teeth. can exhibit one. incisor shoveling. such UI1. 1. the majority of these traits show similar Teeth exhibit two types of morphological variation. large-toothed (megadont) individuals tuberculum dentale). males and females. and. the canine distal acces- B. population fre- tures (e.g. should FIGURE I Upper anterior teeth exhibiting shoveling (Shov. most morphological crown and root males and females. That is.. cingular derivatives (cf. Shoveling. including hypodontia. cusps 6 and 7). Within European deflecting wrinkle).

mesial. d. Rather. In Monozygotic (MZ) twins share identical genotypes. not be viewed as four or eight distinct traits.80). lingual. such as common prenatal and postnatal environ. there is almost perfect selves. However. and that the heritability of crown dimensions is relatively small morphological details. concordance in the form and expression of this trait. high (ca. general crown form. illustrate close similarity in tooth size. The of human tooth size has been assessed through the dentitions of identical twins. is it is a single trait that may be expressed on all teeth manifested on the mesiolingual cusp of the deciduous of the upper and lower incisor districts. shown in Fig. the hereditary basis show similar expressions between M Z twin pairs. In Fig. right sides of the dentition. such differ- ences in expression are environmental in origin. the timing and se. Studies showing significant logic feature in these twin pairs can be used to illus. Workers who markable parallels in crown size. when present. in fact. However. Carabelli’s trait. 1. distal. Although second molars and permanent molars. discordance between M Z twins for any dental a fact widely exploited by geneticists interested in variable is attributable to environmental effects. often show re. b. general. phology.. ments. in one set of twins (Bl-B2). usually show little or no correlation among them. traits with a strong genetic component should As a series of metric variables. The determining the relative genetic and environmental differences in tooth structure and form between M Z components of variance underlying the expression of twins may be caused by environmental factors similar biological traits. 3. have analyzed tooth size in twins and families estimate quence of tooth eruption. but environmental factors. genetic component in the development of tooth size.g. trate a general point.60-0. Carabelli’s trait cingular trait is expressed to a moderate degree on and the protostylid). this there are a few exceptions (e. Orientation: m. including maternal effects. Dental Genetics A2. the expression of one morpho. buccal.As M Z twins have the same genotype. 0. 3. tooth B exhibits an occlusal ridge variant on the mesiolingualcusp (deflectingwrinkle) and a supernumerarycusp between the mesiolingualand distolingual cusps (cusp 7). methodology of quantitative genetics. also have some influence. form. different morphological traits the permanent first molars of all four twins. Although there are complicating fac. differences in tooth size between generations also . and mor. to those that produce asymmetry between the left and tors. DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY I79 FIGURE 2 Two left lower first molars: tooth A exhibits five major cusps plus a supernumerary cusp (cusp 6). These estimates indicate a strong Two matched M Z twin pairs. while degree of expression differs between A1 and C.

B2) on both the deciduous second molar and the permanent first molar.. which are designed to take into account both old along the visible scale. human populations. point to an environmental component in dental devel.e. Between-group analyses of odontomet- whereas those just beyond the threshold exhibit slight ric variation often utilize multivariate distance statis- expressions. skeletal and modes of inheritance similar to continuous variables. there is an associated in. is a measure of among-tooth pro- who fall below the threshold fail to express the trait. (i. dental morphological data are ables can serve to illustrate dimensional and propor- . two synthetic vari- frequencies. A2) but is identical between B twins ( B l . Carabelli’s trait (indicated by arrows) differs in degree of expression between A twins ( A l . but there is an underlying scale (absence) and nents for between-group odontometric comparisons. with the two scales separated by the presence of absolute dimensions of the tooth crowns. early workers thought these variables might follow simple dominant-recessive patterns of D. shape. absolute dimensions and among-tooth proportions. portionality. presented in the form of class frequency distributions opment. have polygenic Teeth from many human populations. First. With increasing distance from the thresh. there is a size component that centers on the tion. crease in degree of expression. It now seems likely that morphologic traits. However. a visible scale (presence) associated with this distribu. Genotypically. living. have been measured for mesiodistal and bucco- That is. the genotypic distribution underlying trait lingual crown diameters. Tooth Size and Population History inheritance. Currently. individuals component. In particular. the frequency of absence and each degree of trait Considering the presence-absence nature of crown presence) or total trait frequencies. D EN TAL AN TH R O PO L O G Y I80 FIGURE 3 Right upper dentitions of two pairs of monozygotic twins. the newly developed tooth crown appor- Although complex segregation analysis suggests tionment method may prove to be a powerful method that major gene effects may be associated with the for utilizing crown size to assess affinities among expression of some dental morphological variables. for a general charac- it is still not possible to reduce this variation to gene terization of tooth size variation. like other threshold traits. The second a physiological threshold. and root traits. These basic tooth crown expression is continuous (with multiple loci and/or dimensions are often broken down into two compo- alleles). tics.

population geneticists find that (1)Africans are the most highly differentiated from all other re- gional populations. with the lowest mean indices. and of size. with exceptionally small teeth. withgroup means lation in tooth size. Geographic variation in absolute tooth dimensions and the UIl/UI2 index broadly parallel the relation- ships indicated by measures of genetic distance.8 mm2.4. and native Australians fall in the middle of the global range. summed cross-sectional crown areas of of tooth size-body size scaling is an important avenue upper and lower premolars and molars (excluding of inquiry that should be further explored in different M3) were calculated for males from 75 recent skeletal geographic contexts. and Europeans form a coherent genographic grouping. with a mean posterior tooth crown area 12 geographic areas (or populations) compared for of 864. When the major geographic subdivisions of hu- mankind are analyzed on the basis of simple genetic markers. indicates that the upper lateral incisor is broad relative derived (Eskimo-Aleut. illustrate how information on shape differs from that graphic populations. derived Africans (excluding San) and Melanesians. fall culations. between European and Asian groups for the incisor . American Indians. signifies a relatively narrow lateral incisor. The worldwide sample Australians fall well beyond any other regional popu. To this small-toothed grouping includes two broad geo. (2) Asiatic Indians. At the other extreme. this range includes sub-Saharan The means and ranges of the UIl/UI2 index. and (3) mainland Asian and Asian-derived groups in the Americans and the Pacific cluster to- gether at low to intermediate levels of differentiation.American Indian) populations to the upper central incisor. rope. and (4) from 105 samples. ranges for posterior crown areas (see Fig. Of the first five groups range for three of the regional populations (San. whereas a high index and Europeans (including European-derived groups).0. ing when tooth shape is also taken into account. Middle Easterners. Moreover. K. Southeast Asians. It should be noted that the limited between 119. this grouping has been summarized on a global scale.3 mm2and a range of 835. the population variation of the incisor length two relatively small groups from Europe (Saami) and index (UI1 MD diameterKJI2 MD diameter X 100) South Africa (San). Middle East- erners. although tooth size is somewhat larger in Eu- ranges within geographicregions. Southeast Asia) and Asian. humankind. 4) show odontometric comparisons are even more discriminat- four general divisions of humankind: (1)<700 mm2. The derived means and information on relative population relationships. four represent Asian Saami. and Europeans have the highest indices. and Asian-derived groups (fiveif one includes Melane- sians.3 and 130. The Saami. Europeans clustered with Asiatic FIGURE 4 Global variation in cross-sectional crown areas of Indians and Middle Easterners for the incisor length male upper and lower premolars and molars (excluding third molars). and the Eskimo-Aleut clustered for both tooth size and the incisor length index. DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY 181 tional variation among the major subdivisions of ber of samples used in the calculations. Vertical bars denote means. Australians remain the most enigmatic population from a genetic standpoint. Sub-Saharan Africans. and horizontal lines show index. with hints of distant histor- ical ties to both Southeast Asia and Africa. (3) 750-800 mm2. Asiatic Indians. range for this index is 113. (2) 700-750 mm2.native overall crown dimensions. the distantly related yet small-toothed San and Saami To summarize human tooth size variation on a populations also share small body size. the San. are shown in Fig.9-912. Melanesia) is due primarily to the small num. 5 for the same >800 mm2. number of samples used in cal. and living samples representing 12 geographic regions Although absolute tooth dimensions provide useful or population groupings. A low index includes Asian (East Asia. but their historical status is less certain). The question global scale.5-139. India and the Middle East. East Asians.

Genetic markers and other affinities. Based on this summary. odontometric data provide a use. however. but environmental factors SourheastAsia 7 may also play a role. The correlates of sedentism (in- San (8ushmen) 2 creased population density. whereas Europeans and Africans of tooth size microdifferentiation. forming cluster and components analysis. and (3) the lia than to either Europe or Asia. Australians. who reflect a world ships and origins until recently. this fact was length index as they do for many other genetic and not fully exploited in studies of population relation- biological variables. Africans scoring morphologic trait expression. Many searchers on the discriminatory power of odonto.. this decrease in tooth size parallels the origins and development of agriculture. between group warfare and other forms of gen- Austmfia 8 eral stress). Although human populations exhibit a great deal of within. this discussion focused on the distributions of tions of population history is well illustrated by a sample means for some of the major subdivisions of problem that has concerned anthropologists for de- humankind.and between-group variation in the frequen- cies of various crown and root traits. Some domestic animals of the early Neolithic also tend to have smaller teeth than SubSaharanAftica 9 their wild ancestors. Vertical bars E. demonstration that tooth morphology is useful in as- In general. were characterized by lower frequencies and slight In addition to addressing questions of population degrees of trait expression.g. Asians and Native Ameri- finements in measuring tooth mass (e. HrdliZka argued that American Indians metric data when comparisons are made among were most closely related to Asian populations. ation below the major geographic race. Fre- Pegional Population K Eddnw-~ quently. more closely aligned with tion increasing intra. they calculating biological distance measures and per- show more dental similarity to Melanesia and Austra. Dental Morphology and represent means. one closely related populations. A. In the similarity between Asians and Native Americans many different parts of the world. when both tooth size and shape are sessing population relationships at levels of differenti- taken into account. K. are in the middle of the range to (1) improved and expanded standards of observa- for the incisor length index. and horizontal lines show ranges within geo. Improved analytical biological feature used to support this position was methods (e. Mwle East 8 [See Evolution. number of samples used in calculations.g. This can be attributed extreme for tooth size. may have produced a similar ef- hdia 15 fect in the “domestication” of human populations. along with the development of new food rni(LaPp) 3 preparation techniques and the greater reliance on plant domesticates. There is still some debate among re. tooth size variation has also been used to biological traits eventually vindicated this position. incisor shoveling (Fig. Population History graphic regions. DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY I82 . volumetri. less distinctive odontometrically than availability of computers and statistical packages for they are genetically. years ago. 6 ) . temporally divided in shoveling was an indication of homology. endemic and epidemic dis- eases. Human.000 years. assess temporal trends in recent human evolution. ful tool for assessing population relationships.] Europe 11 - FIGURE 5 Global variation in incisor length index. Of The utility of dental morphology in resolving ques- course.and interobserver reliability in African than with European or Asian groups. ( 2 ) the ready are. cans expressed this trait in high frequencies and often cally) should ultimately increase resolution in studies pronounced degrees. Some workers have Mtanesia 2 explained this trend in terms of natural selection (ei- Americanlndian 9 ther reduced selection and concomitant reduction in tooth mass or positive selection for smaller and mor- EastAsia 27 phologically simpler teeth). not anal- .. Holocene skeletal collections show a significant de- ~~ Inciaor bnath Indox (I’l I‘ ratio x 1001: World Moans and Ranoer crease in tooth size over the past 12. cades: the question of Native American origins. tooth crown apportionment) and re.

The examination of numerous Asian skeletal series showed a major di- chotomy among populations combined traditionally under the general term of Mongoloid (or Asian). Although there is den- tal variation among New World populations. Eskimo-Aleuts) represent the descendant groups of three major migrations out of Asia. Eskimo. a data base was first established for mainland Asian populations. Second. After making observations on samples of tion that the Ainu are the descendants of the aborigi- Aleut.e. representing the Na-Dene language family. However. nal Jomon population of Japan. The only exceptional group among Ameri- can Indians was a small Navajo sample. or Macro-Indi- ans. allied dentally with other Sino- fell into two distinct clusters. to unravel the biological diversity of Oce- anic populations. it ap- pears that all were derived from ancestral populations in North Asia. populations may have extended further to the north The analysis of population variation in another at one time. American Indians. and could reasonably be attributed to common tern. Na-Dene speakers of Alaska and Canada. Eskimos and Aleuts were dont groups of the Asian mainland. and American Indian skeletal remains.led to a by north Asian groups. In contrast to the broad Mongoloid Dental Complex. the Ainu of Japan exhibit a Sundadont rather than Sinodont pat- ogy. One slight modification was to expand the Na-Dene grouping beyond this language family to include other Indian groups residing in the Pacific Northwest. G. Moreover. D E N T A L ANTHROPOLOGY I83 characterized by high frequencies (20-40%). Turner defined two complexes: Sinodont (North Asian) and Sundadont (Southeast Asian). First. eventually to be displaced and/or replaced trait. so it is possible that the range of Sundadont ancestry. is that these groups were ultimately derived from Southeast Asian populations.. Turner I1 noted that the frequencies of 3RM1 Japanese population. so the historical inference Asians and Native Americans. defined primarily on the basis of Japanese dental mor- phology. Several historical patterns emerged following the definitions of the Sinodont and Sundadont complexes. south of the Canadian border. Turner hypothesized that recent populations of the New World (i. Subsequent observations on 23 crown and root traits among dozens of samples representing North and South American native populations supported the initial model based on 3RM1 frequencies. slight shoveling shown in A and B characteristic of Europeans. 5 % ) . are descended . On the basis of this single trait. Polynesians and Micronesians FIGURE 6 Variation in expression of upper incisor shoveling. The peopling of the Pacific was also addressed by Turner through the use of dental morphologic data. three-rooted lower first molars (3RM1). whereas American Indians showed uniformly low frequencies (ca. the suite of variables that characterized the Sino- dent complex of north Asians also characterized all Native American populations. while the modern C. In this matter. exhibited crown and root trait frequencies in accord while pronounced expressions in C and D limited largely to north with the Sunadont pattern. comparisons further refinement of knowledge on Native American of both tooth size and morphology support the posi- origins. with an intermediate frequency of 27%.

e. a fine grit is added to the flour when demonstrated the potential of this approach in a com..g.g. abrasion. been suggested that angle of crown wear. bruxism). the second com- guage..g. lands cleared for farming. sand). it may be possible to esti. the INTERFACE: TEETH AND BEHAVIOR potential for introduced abrasive elements in the diet is present in all human populations. Turner techniques (e. wear was probably highly variable (Fig.g. grit) into the foods being con- among closely related populations are small when sumed. tence levels. due in part to a Ill. are those that focus on closely related populations sal surfaces of the teeth. nent because of the reliance on stone-ground grains terest surrounding the origins and dispersal of modern and the greater amounts of windborne grit due to Homo sapiens. Solomon Islands. For the most part. However. to bear between the upper and lower teeth by the tion relationships indicated by dental morphology muscles of mastication. Still. it appears that crown wear in earlier Further development of this method. THE ENVIRONMENTAL more powerful chewing musculature. from similar environments or involve temporal com- . (2) implemental. incidentally generated by certain food preparation mate times of divergence from these values. At these levels of divergence.and between-group Middle East. one’s teeth (e. dental morphology has also been used generated by the combined action of attrition and to measure microdifferentiation among local popula. wind- primary focus on Asian and Asian-derived groups. the amount of energy brought biological distance are relatively small. Yanomama. stuffs being consumed (how much chewing is required quency differences and the associated measures of for particular foods). Within. As many factors are involved in crown wear. The process of attrition results from direct tions within circumscribed geographic regions (e. Dietary Behavior alists seem to exhibit a steeper angle of wear on the Since the early 1980s. ponent of wear. (3) incidental cul. regardless of sub- Once a tooth crown is fully developed. DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY I84 from relatively recent migrants to the Japanese archi.. It has tural.g. i.. The most fruitful lines of study cumulative loss of enamel and dentine from the occlu. rather than absolute degree of wear. which occurs on both the chewing pelago. or introduced parison of dental distances among 85 samples with a accidentally into foods by external sources (e. 7). other biological systems.. tooth-on-tooth contact. borne silt. it is lier human populations. the thickness and quality of show close correspondance to those suggested by sim. and lan. Regarding general subsis- estimates from archeology. popula. silicate phytoliths in plants. and (4) intentional cultural. surfaces of the teeth (occlusal wear) and at the contact In addition to assessing broad patterns of historical points between adjacent teeth (approximal wear). Crown wear. may distinguish groups prac- ticing different subsistence economies. although the rela- which indirectly reflect four classes of human behav. pronounced degrees of crown wear. American variation in attrition may reflect the nature of food- Southwest). tural populations are characterized by rapid rates and Interest here is with alterations of the tooth crown. agricultur- A. agricultural groups had a significant abrasive compo- chronology appears warranted in light of current in.g. is relationships. tive contributions of attrition and abrasion to this ior: (1) dietary. Abrasion. isotope and trace element analy. referred to as crown wear. geology. crown enamel. seeds are processed by grinding stones). there is close agreement between In all human groups. posterior teeth in contrast to the flatter wear plane of ses of bone collagen and apatite have been widely hunter-gatherers.. remote common ancestry. Abrasive elements may be inherent in foods compared with distances between groups with a more (e. and linguistics. Inferring dietary constituents difficult to generalize from comparisons among dis- and their relative proportions is also a goal of those tantly related populations residing in contrasting envi- who study the natural processes that result in the ronmental settings. crown wear is produced by dentally derived times of divergence and independent both attrition and abrasion. grit in shellfish). Because meat is less abra- sive than plant foods.. is caused by the introduction of for- As dentally based biological distance estimates eign material (e. trait fre. labeled dento. Both early hunter-gatherer and agricul- dentine are subject only to physicochemical changes. used to infer general characteristics of the diet of ear. crown wear in hunter-gatherer groups may have a relatively higher attrition compo- nent than in agricultural groups. and the nonmasticatory grinding of ple genetic markers. enamel and sistence level.

despite the fact be to carbohydrate consumption. [See Dental Caries. tion of plants and animals) did not occur until the measurements of degree. But. Fats and proteins do not promote carious le- cale. plant and animal resources). formation of carious lesions. and angle of wear can Holocene. dietary elements.Norway. the extremely high caries rates in modern populations. teria. certain dental patholo. Gregory’s Church. terized by low caries frequencies. As the constituents of a In addition to crown wear. in particular the that carious lesions increased in earlier agricultural ingestion of simple sugars (e. of agriculture in the Old and New Worlds. When the term diet is which broke down complex carbohydrates into sim- used in the context of caries. specific reference should pler sugars. rate. Trondheim. etiology of caries involves a complex interplay among Despite the positive effects associated with the rise the oral microbiota. and saliva. fruc. caries rates increased. it also had structure. parisons among groups living in a circumscribed lo. glucose. The relative roles of attrition and abrasion in producing wear in this individual cannot be discerned. sions. With an increased reliance lations indicates that diet played a critical role in the on plant foods and food preparation techniques.. In fact. craniofacial As the emergence of food production (domestica- morphology. which serve as the substrate for acidogenic bac. the study of earlier human popu. these groups are charac- and other cultural behavior. hunter-gatherer diet did not generally promote the gies can be utilized to make inferences about dietary formation of carious lesions. sucrose.g. its adverse consequences. populations. As this approach controls for some of the vari.] ables contributing to crown wear (e. dental micro. years of human evolution.g. Although the diets often had no caries at all. . populations lar is useful for addressing dietary differences and/ of the far north subsisting on high protein-high fat or changes among and within groups.. Dental caries in particu. DE NT A L A N T H R O P O L O G Y I85 FIGURE 7 Pronounced crown wear in the upper dentition of a medieval Norwegian from St. ing wild foods characterized the first several million source utilization and diet. tooth size. this increase was modest compared with tose). an economy based on hunting and gather- reveal significant differences and/or changes in re.

The analysis of caries rates. When manipula- C. especially among Eskimos. BA21-419K. I86 DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY Today. The ultimate effect of this usage was to gener. Temporal com- parisons among British populations. this FIGURE 8 St. lmplemental Behavior Modern technology provides us with a tool for almost any mechanical task. but they can reflect repetitive behaviors and traumatic along the margins of stone tools. Habitual pipe smokers commonly hold a by attrition and abrasion. Incidental Cultural Behavior tion centered on the manufacture of thread-like items from sinew or grasses. the use of probes. the anterior teeth were used for skinworking duced into food. for example. earlier human populations with relatively simple tool kits were often forced to rely on their own biological equipment. much like the pressure-chipping evident may leave grooves on the interstitial surfaces of the . grav- ers. form. show how caries rates can indicate the introduction of specific dietary components during particular his- torical periods. leave an imprint on teeth. One such behavior is pipe In addition to patterns of uniform wear generated smoking. Although chipping episodes. called dental chipping. Comparisons between prehistoric and modern populations of the far north also show a dra- matic rise in caries rates following the introduction of refined carbohydrates into native diets that had hitherto consisted primarily of animal products (pro- tein and fat). This of the left or right canines.] to perform a variety of functions from carding wool to holding bobby pins. photo archives. This is particularly true for teeth. Teeth do not record all instances of tool use. Commonly. 8). all rights reserved. Hu- teeth to soften and crimp walrus or bearded seal hide for mukluk mans throughout history have taken advantage of the sole. ate a distinctive pattern of labial rounding especially evident on the anterior teeth (Fig. the pattern generated on the Several patterned behaviors. particularly Eskimos. [Used with permission from the Denver Museum of Natural strength. such chipping takes the form A more hygienic habit. Pipes with highly abrasive process. is most informative when studied in the context of cir- cumscribed geographic populations. which do not reflect ei- anterior teeth would take the form of notches or ther implemental use or intentional modification. the teeth as tools. which can serve functionally as pliers. or tooth- of small enamel flakes removed around the margins picks. etc. strippers. B. it is frequently attributed to using (Fig. to remove food debris lodged between the teeth. capacity. the widespread usage of refined sugars pro- cessed from sugar cane and sugar beets has led to a major increase in caries frequencies. 9). enamel and dentine can pipe on either or both sides of the mouth in the region also be removed through traumatic fracturing. In many hunter-gatherer populations. teeth can literally be used as a third hand with unique properties. Lacking such advantages. Lawrence Island Eskimo female using anterior behavior is not limited in either time or space. and ready availability of their teeth History. of the teeth. for can be caused by such things as grit accidentally intro- example. While the use of teeth as tools is most commonly associated with popu- lations of the far north. grooves rather than uniform surface wear. In this sense. vises. occurs when teeth clay stems are among the worst offenders for generat- are subjected to forces that exceed their load-bearing ing deep ovate notches that extend over several teeth. like crown wear.

Unlike other animals. DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY I87 FIGURE 9 Upper dentition of prehistoric Alaskan Eskimo. with paired composite labrets. [Sketch by Tim their incisors and canines to produce notched or Sczawinski. or lipstick. beards. however. it is manifest as a polished facet on the labial or buccal surfaces of the anterior or poste- rior teeth. Another cultural practice that leaves unintended wear is labret usage.A thorough perusal of the ethnographic literature would probably reveal many other cultural practices that leave unintentional marks on the teeth. In some cases.g. D.. 10). Jr. which make do with the biological equipment they are provided with. In others.g. ivory. e. respectively (Fig.. come in different shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of raw materials. the mouth also serves as a major social organ for many animals. all rights reserved. The internal aspect Culturally prescribed dental mutilation takes sev. but canines and premolars exhibit distinct pattern of labial rounding indicative of implemental use (e. of such labrets would contact the buccal surfaces of the lower eral forms.. resulting in polished wear facets. individuals can chip or file anterior teeth. lip plugs. espe- cially the more visible incisors and canines. groups directly modify the appearance of their teeth. humans can modify the appearance of their mouths in a variety of ways. tooth crowns. and stone (Fig. 11). Labrets. including humans. bone. The wear pattern produced by labret use is very distinctive. labrets.] . tatoos. these modifications are external in nature. skin-working). which are inserted through the cheeks or lips. Burch. courtesy of Ernest S. FIGURE 10 Early 19th century Eskimo male from Kotzebue Sound. Intentional Cultural Modification Although the primary function of the oral cavity re- lates to the ingestion of food and water. including wood. Incisors lost antemortem.Alaska. For example.

On the other hand. to a large extent. The reasons for dental mutilation may be idiosyn. DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY I88 FIGURE I I Labret facet on the lower right canine of a prehistoric Alaskan Eskimo.. Precious metals can also be inlayed stable and predictable in terms of matrix formation. gold) or gemstones (e. the varying levels of fluctuating symbol of group membership. This is apparent in teeth can be removed tramatically through the prac.g. and eruption. macrostructural defects in the enamel and dentine.e. Although the for precious metals (e. Growth arrest lines in long bones larities is linear enamel hypoplasia (LEH). entire mune from external influences. and dentinogenesis (dentine formation).which takes (i. The most mate relative levels of environmental stress on earlier readily observed manifestation of such growth irregu- human populations. size asymmetry between antimeres and micro. course of dental development is. metry as a relative measure of stress. In some cases. achieve a desired cosmetic effect (e. In the first instance. development is moderated by a common genetic con- individuals may choose to modify their teeth to trol system for the teeth in the two sides of the jaw. to enhance When differences are evident among antimeres in size. Harris or transverse lines) provide one measure the form of horizontal circumferential bands and/or . pointed teeth. mutila. turquoise).. Arrow points to distal margin of facet.g. especially those were thought to provide some indication of relative rites involving a transition in status (e. beauty or fierceness). adolescence levels of environmental stress.. In addition to modifications in form. the dentition is not im- crown. and number.. DENTAL INDICATORS OF levels. asymmetry in tooth size among different populations tion is involved in rites of passage. morphology. Incising tools can be used to engrave of this phenomenon.and tice of ablation.. or small holes can be drilled to serve as settings of environmentally induced stress. they are environmental in lations require some form of dental mutilation as a origin. As dental asymmetry appears to have certain limita- tions as a broad scale indicator of comparative stress IV. An interesting the argument remains sound. Although the logic of to adulthood. as bands on the labial surface or around the entire calcification. Antimeres exhibit mirror imagery because dental cratic or culturally prescribed. In addition. events that disrupt patterned lines on the labial surfaces of the anterior crown and root formation may also mirror episodes teeth.g. jade. dental anthropologists have shifted their atten- ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS tion to the analysis of irregularities in the tooth crown that arise during amelogenesis (enamel formation) Anthropologists have long sought methods to esti. some popu. At one time.g. which extends from crown-root junction to occlusal surface. methodological prob- and not yet fully exploited anthropological usage of lems pertaining to measurement error and small sam- dental mutilation would be to assess the diffusion of ple size have recently curtailed the use of dental asym- specific practices from one region to another. unmarried to married).

while four bands are visible on left lateral incisor. K. M. R. change in human tooth size in the late Pleistocene and post- in some early agricultural groups in North America. C. “Recent Advances between bands. the key stimulus in ear.g. For this reason. enamel BIBLlOGRAPHY defects are used to address a number of problems in Brace.. and Larsen. Pleistocene. Cam- old age category. Cambridge. 705-720. (1987). L. patterns of stress. S. Evolution 41. 12). D. A. “Dental Anthropology. Experimental and of expression may also provide insights into the differ- clinical evidence shows that a wide range of phenome. Wilson bands) provide a promising ave- morbidity. (1996)... possibly marking the shift from bridge. cient in certain essential amino acids. S. although it is more common and populations. differential stress levels among and within earlier hu- cific teeth occur during predictable time intervals. K. Hillson. . The numbers of bands and their degree pronounced on the anterior teeth.) (1991). New York. “ 4-year. mental and comparative work on surface irregularities lier human populations probably involved some and dental histological indicators of growth distur- combination of nutritional deficiency and disease bance (e. pits on the tooth crown (Fig.” A. LEH can be ob. The distances Kelley. may indicate seasonal in Dental Anthropology. LEH banding appears to concentrate in 2. ences in status within a population. However.” Cambridge University mother’s milk to a weanling diet of cereal gruel defi. R. Rosenberg. C. Three distinct bands can be observed on right central incisor.” Cambridge University Press. Gradual the analysis of human skeletal remains. Liss. (eds. and Hunt. ential treatment of male and female children or differ- non can disrupt amelogenesis and stimulate hypoplas. Lawrence Island Eskimo. it man populations. a common phenomenon in earlier served on any tooth. Press. (1986). in some cases.. DENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY I89 FIGURE I 2 Pronounced linear enamel hypoplasia on anterior teeth of prehistoric St. For example. Further experi- tic banding/pitting. Hillson. is possible to estimate the ages at which specific LEH bands developed and the approximate duration of a particular episode of stress. S. nue of research for scholars interested in discerning Because matrix formation and calcification for spe.

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