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Current Aspects of Dental Research in Paleoanthropology

  • Winfried Henke

Abstract

From the beginning of paleoanthropological research until the mid-nineteenth century, dental evidence was dominant in discussions on primate evolution in general (Butler 1963, 1986; Chivers et al. 1984; Fleagle 1988; Gregory 1920; Gregory and Hellman 1926; Osborn 1907; Owen 1859; RD Martin 1990; Remane 1921, 1960), and the reconstruction of human evolution in particular. This is understandable since teeth constitute the most enduring component of the body (overview in Brothwell 1963; Butler and Joysey 1978; Szalay and Delson 1979; Cruwys and Foley 1986; Fleagle 1988; Grine 1988; Aiello and Dean 1990; P Smith and Tchernov 1992; Henke and Rothe 1994, 1997 a, b; Alt and Türp 1997). Teeth are often the only preserved biological substratum or trace of a vertebrate organism. Useful not only for taphonomic purposes, teeth are an extremely valuable source of palaeontological information. Since teeth develop early in life embedded in the jaws and are protected from external environmental influences, they provide much information about the genetic constitution and development of an individual. On the other hand worn teeth and their special macro- and microstructures disclose much about food acquisition and processing.

Keywords

Bite Force Early Hominid Dental Research Dental Morphology Fossil Hominid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • Winfried Henke

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