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Title: Dental wear patterns in early modern humans from Skhul and Qafzeh: A response to Sarig and Tillier
Contributor(s): Fiorenza, Luca  (author); Kullmer, Ottmar (author)
Publication Date: 2015
DOI: 10.1016/j.jchb.2015.04.002
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Abstract: The use of teeth as tools for manipulating objects and simple food-processing methods was common among prehistoric and modern hunter-gatherer human populations. Paramasticatory uses of teeth frequently produce enamel chipping and distinctive types of dental wear that can readily be related to specific tool functions. In particular, the presence of unusual occlusal wear areas (named para-facets) on maxillary teeth of prehistoric, historic and modern hunter-gatherers has been associated with cultural habits involving extensive use of teeth (Fiorenza et al., 2011 ; Fiorenza and Kullmer, 2013). However, Sarig and Tillier (2014) believe that this wear had been caused by pathological occlusal relationships rather than by the use of teeth as tools. In this contribution, we show how occlusal contacts are created and how it is possible to distinguish between masticatory and non-masticatory wear facets by using an innovative digital approach called Occlusal Fingerprint Analysis. Statistical results from the analysis of comparative modern samples clearly demonstrate that described para-facets in Skhul and Qafzeh could not have been produced by dental occlusal anomalies such as malocclusions and crossbites. Moreover, dental pathologies in prehistoric humans were extremely rare. Only with the adoption of the modern lifestyle between 18th and 19th centuries, did the emergence of malocclusions become significantly more common. Because more than 50% of the Skhul and Qafzeh individuals analysed in our study are characterised by this distinctive type of wear, it is highly unlikely that their para-facets occurred as a result of dental pathologies.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: HOMO: journal of comparative human biology, 66(5), p. 414-419
Publisher: Elsevier GmbH - Urban und Fischer
Place of Publication: Germany
ISSN: 1618-1301
Field of Research (FOR): 210105 Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
060102 Bioinformatics
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
950504 Understanding Europe's Past
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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