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Title: Dental Wear and Cultural Behavior in Middle Paleolithic Humans From the Near East
Contributor(s): Fiorenza, Luca  (author); Kullmer, Ottmar (author)
Publication Date: 2013
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22335
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Abstract: Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans (AMHs) may have lived in close proximity in the Near East region during Middle Paleolithic times. Although functional morphological analyses suggest a marked behavioral contrast between these two human groups, new dental micro- and macro-wear studies, together with new archaeological data, have revealed some similarities in ecology and dietary habits. In this study, we analyze the tooth wear patterns of Neanderthals and AMH from Middle Paleolithic sites of Israel and Northern Iraq, using the Occlusal Fingerprint Analysis (OFA) method to virtually reconstruct the jaw movements responsible for the creation of the occlusal wear areas. We particularly focus on para-facets, a distinctive type of wear which has been previously described in the dentition of historic and modern hunter-gatherers. The analysis reveals a similarity in para-facet frequency between early Near Eastern Neanderthals and AMH, and a significant difference with other Pleistocene human groups. The absence of antagonist occlusal contacts in the lower teeth and the occlusal compass analysis suggest that para-facet formation is not related to normal mastication but to nonmasticatory activities. Thus, the identification of these nonmasticatory wear areas on the molars of early Near Eastern Neanderthals and AMH may indicate analogous tooth-tool uses for daily task activities. These may have emerged independently or could be interpreted as indirect evidence of cultural interactions between these two groups.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 152(1), p. 107-117
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1096-8644
Field of Research (FOR): 049999 Earth Sciences not elsewhere classified
060899 Zoology not elsewhere classified
160102 Biological (Physical) Anthropology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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