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
- Astronomers discover Earth's bigger cousin
- Rice disease-resistance discovery closes the loop for scientific integrity
- Study finds abrupt climate change may have rocked the cradle of civilization
- Computer security tools for journalists lacking in a post-Snowden world
- ALMA witnesses assembly of galaxies in the early universe for the first time
- Rosetta spacecraft sees sinkholes on comet
- Seahorse tails could inspire new generation of robots
- Newly discovered 48-million-year-old lizard walked on water in Wyoming
- Human brain study by UCLA and UK researchers sheds light on how new memories are formed
- UT Arlington team develops new storage cell for solar energy storage, nighttime conversion