Ancient tooth may provide evidence of early human dentistry
Researchers may have uncovered new evidence of ancient dentistry in the form of a 6,500-year-old human jaw bone with a tooth showing traces of beeswax filling, as reported Sept. 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE. The researchers, led by Federico Bernardini and Claudio Tuniz of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy in cooperation with Sincrotrone Trieste and other institutions, write that the beeswax was applied around the time of the individual's death, but cannot confirm whether it was shortly before or after. If it was before death, however, they write that it was likely intended to reduce pain and sensitivity from a vertical crack in the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth.
According to Tuniz, the severe wear of the tooth "is probably also due to its use in non-alimentary activities, possibly such as weaving, generally performed by Neolithic females."
Evidence of prehistoric dentistry is sparse, so this new specimen, found in Slovenia near Trieste, may help provide insight into early dental practices.
"This finding is perhaps the most ancient evidence of pre-historic dentistry in Europe and the earliest known direct example of therapeutic-palliative dental filling so far," says Bernardini.
Source: Public Library of Science
- Tooth hints at ancient dentistryfrom Science AlertThu, 20 Sep 2012, 9:30:41 EDT
- Ancient tooth may provide evidence of early human dentistryfrom Science DailyWed, 19 Sep 2012, 20:01:07 EDT
- Beeswax filling may be oldest dental workfrom MSNBC: ScienceWed, 19 Sep 2012, 18:30:29 EDT
- Beeswax Filling May Be Oldest Hint of Dentistryfrom Live ScienceWed, 19 Sep 2012, 17:30:31 EDT
- Ancient tooth may provide evidence of early human dentistryfrom PhysorgWed, 19 Sep 2012, 17:00:48 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Probing how CRISPR-Cas9 works
- Graphene key to growing 2-dimensional semiconductor with extraordinary properties
- NASA sees Typhoon Lionrock approaching Japan
- University of Akron researchers find thin layers of water can become ice-like at room temperature
- Low socioeconomic status associated with higher risk of second heart attack or stroke
- Study: Biofuels increase, rather than decrease, heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions
- Hay fever from ragweed pollen could double due to climate change
- NASA's GPM examines Tropical Storm Lester
- Gene therapy via ultrasound could offer new therapeutic tool
- Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins
- Nobel laureate, new technologies show how cancer cells protect chromosomes from decay
- NASA sees Tropical Storm Lionrock south of Japan
- Tool or weapon? New research throws light on stone artifacts' use as ancient projectiles
- Bartending and family life might not mix, study says
- Being the primary breadwinner is bad for men's psychological well-being and health