Summary: The study of the teeth of early forms of life through fossil remains.

Top Publications

  1. Ungar P, Scott R, Grine F, Teaford M. Molar microwear textures and the diets of Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010;365:3345-54 pubmed publisher
  2. Zanolli C, Bondioli L, Mancini L, Mazurier A, Widianto H, Macchiarelli R. Brief communication: two human fossil deciduous molars from the Sangiran dome (Java, Indonesia): outer and inner morphology. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2012;147:472-81 pubmed publisher
    ..In addition to external characteristics, virtual imaging and quantitative assessment of inner morphology and tissue proportions support an attribution to the taxon Homo, and we preliminary allocate both specimens toH. erectus. ..
  3. Semprebon G, Godfrey L, Solounias N, Sutherland M, Jungers W. Can low-magnification stereomicroscopy reveal diet?. J Hum Evol. 2004;47:115-44 pubmed
  4. Zaim Y, Ciochon R, Polanski J, Grine F, Bettis E, Rizal Y, et al. New 1.5 million-year-old Homo erectus maxilla from Sangiran (Central Java, Indonesia). J Hum Evol. 2011;61:363-76 pubmed publisher
    ..These two east Asian populations, separated by 5000 km and nearly 800 k.yr., may have had separate origins from different African/west Eurasian populations...
  5. Bailey S. A morphometric analysis of maxillary molar crowns of Middle-Late Pleistocene hominins. J Hum Evol. 2004;47:183-98 pubmed
    ..That the morphology observed in non-Neandertal fossil hominins is more anatomically modern human-like than Neandertal-like, suggests that this distinctive morphology may be derived in Neandertals. ..
  6. Galbany J, Martinez L, López Amor H, Espurz V, Hiraldo O, Romero A, et al. Error rates in buccal-dental microwear quantification using scanning electron microscopy. Scanning. 2005;27:23-9 pubmed
    ..The substitution of semiautomatic with fully automated procedures will completely avoid interobserver error rate differences. ..
  7. Asher R, Meng J, Wible J, McKenna M, Rougier G, Dashzeveg D, et al. Stem Lagomorpha and the antiquity of Glires. Science. 2005;307:1091-4 pubmed
    ..Our results support the hypothesis that rodents and lagomorphs radiated during the Cenozoic and diverged from other placental mammals close to the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary...
  8. Kaifu Y, Baba H, Aziz F, Indriati E, Schrenk F, Jacob T. Taxonomic affinities and evolutionary history of the Early Pleistocene hominids of Java: dentognathic evidence. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2005;128:709-26 pubmed
    ..Subsequent periods of the Early Pleistocene witnessed remarkable changes in the Javanese hominid record, which are ascribed either to significant in situ evolution or replacement of populations. ..
  9. Scott R, Ungar P, Bergstrom T, Brown C, Grine F, Teaford M, et al. Dental microwear texture analysis shows within-species diet variability in fossil hominins. Nature. 2005;436:693-5 pubmed
    ..africanus. This suggests that A. africanus ate more tough foods and P. robustus consumed more hard and brittle items, but that both had variable and overlapping diets. ..

More Information


  1. Falgueres C, Bahain J, Yokoyama Y, Arsuaga J, Bermudez De Castro J, Carbonell E, et al. Earliest humans in Europe: the age of TD6 Gran Dolina, Atapuerca, Spain. J Hum Evol. 1999;37:343-52 pubmed
    ..The results for the other levels are consistent with estimates based mainly on microfaunal evidence, and suggest that TD8, TD10 and TD11 date to the Middle Pleistocene. ..
  2. Martinón Torres M, Bérmudez de Castro J, Gómez Robles A, Margvelashvili A, Prado L, Lordkipanidze D, et al. Dental remains from Dmanisi (Republic of Georgia): morphological analysis and comparative study. J Hum Evol. 2008;55:249-73 pubmed publisher
    ..habilis, they also display some derived characteristics, particularly in relation to dental reduction, resembling that seen in the dentition of H. erectus from the Far East. ..
  3. Ungar P, Grine F, Teaford M. Dental microwear and diet of the Plio-Pleistocene hominin Paranthropus boisei. PLoS ONE. 2008;3:e2044 pubmed publisher
    ..The apparent discrepancy between microwear and functional anatomy is consistent with the idea that P. boisei presents a hominin example of Liem's Paradox, wherein a highly derived morphology need not reflect a specialized diet. ..
  4. Kaifu Y, Aziz F, Baba H. Hominid mandibular remains from Sangiran: 1952-1986 collection. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2005;128:497-519 pubmed
    ..These specimens significantly increase the dento-gnathic sample available for intensive morphological investigation of the earliest Javanese hominids [Kaifu et al., 2005]. ..
  5. Grine F, Ungar P, Teaford M, El Zaatari S. Molar microwear in Praeanthropus afarensis: evidence for dietary stasis through time and under diverse paleoecological conditions. J Hum Evol. 2006;51:297-319 pubmed
  6. Scott R, Ungar P, Bergstrom T, Brown C, Childs B, Teaford M, et al. Dental microwear texture analysis: technical considerations. J Hum Evol. 2006;51:339-49 pubmed
    ..In this case, microwear surfaces of Cebus apella and Lophocebus albigena, which consume some harder food items, have higher average values for complexity than do folivores or soft fruit eaters...
  7. Sponheimer M, Passey B, De Ruiter D, Guatelli Steinberg D, Cerling T, Lee Thorp J. Isotopic evidence for dietary variability in the early hominin Paranthropus robustus. Science. 2006;314:980-2 pubmed
    ..8 million years ago, savanna-based foods such as grasses or sedges or animals eating these foods made up an important but highly variable part of its diet. ..
  8. Kaifu Y, Arif J, Yokoyama K, Baba H, Suparka E, Gunawan H. A new Homo erectus molar from Sangiran. J Hum Evol. 2007;52:222-6 pubmed
  9. Ungar P, Brown C, Bergstrom T, Walkers A. Quantification of dental microwear by tandem scanning confocal microscopy and scale-sensitive fractal analyses. Scanning. 2003;25:185-93 pubmed
    ..Moreover, rapid surface characterization will allow examination of large samples to assess within species variation and to make finer distinctions between species. ..
  10. Grine F, Ungar P, Teaford M. Error rates in dental microwear quantification using scanning electron microscopy. Scanning. 2002;24:144-53 pubmed
    ..In view of the error introduced by the use of different methods, we suggest that a consistent technique, such as offered by the Microware software package, be adopted by current researchers to establish a common microwear database. ..
  11. Alba D, Fortuny J, Pérez de Los Ríos M, Zanolli C, Almécija S, Casanovas Vilar I, et al. New dental remains of Anoiapithecus and the first appearance datum of hominoids in the Iberian Peninsula. J Hum Evol. 2013;65:573-84 pubmed publisher
    ..From a chronostratigraphic perspective, IPS35027 from ACM/C1-E* enlarges the known temporal distribution of Anoiapithecus, further representing the oldest record (first appearance datum) of hominoids in the Iberian Peninsula. ..
  12. Zilberman U, Smith P, Piperno M, Condemi S. Evidence of amelogenesis imperfecta in an early African Homo erectus. J Hum Evol. 2004;46:647-53 pubmed
    ..We propose that the Garba IV child is the earliest example of AI and provides a link between palaeoanthropology and molecular biology in investigations of the evolutionary history of genetic disorders. ..
  13. Lockwood C, Menter C, Moggi Cecchi J, Keyser A. Extended male growth in a fossil hominin species. Science. 2007;318:1443-6 pubmed
    ..However, males appear to have borne a substantial cost in the form of high rates of predation. ..
  14. Rose K, MacPhee R, Alexander J. Skull of Early Eocene Cantius abditus (Primates:Adapiformes) and its phylogenetic implications, with a reevaluation of "Hesperolemur" actius. Am J Phys Anthropol. 1999;109:523-39 pubmed
    ..quot; actius differs little from Cantius and should not be separated from the latter at the genus level, although on dental grounds the species appears to be distinct (as C. actius). ..
  15. Quam R, Bailey S, Wood B. Evolution of M1 crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo. J Anat. 2009;214:655-70 pubmed publisher
    ..Although some variation was documented among the fossil taxa, we suggest that the relative size of the M(1) paracone and metacone areas may be useful for differentiating the earliest members of our genus from subsequent Homo species. ..
  16. Lieverse A, Link D, Bazaliiskiy V, Goriunova O, Weber A. Dental health indicators of hunter-gatherer adaptation and cultural change in Siberia's Cis-Baikal. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007;134:323-39 pubmed
    ..However, despite these distinctions, the overriding trend appears to be one of general continuity, social equality, and good health among all mid-Holocene occupants of the Cis-Baikal, pre- and posthiatus alike. ..
  17. Keenleyside A. Skeletal evidence of health and disease in pre-contact Alaskan Eskimos and Aleuts. Am J Phys Anthropol. 1998;107:51-70 pubmed
    ..The documentation of these differences indicates that variability in pre-contact disease patterns can be identified between hunter-gatherer populations living in similar environments and exhibiting similar general lifestyles. ..
  18. Schwarcz H, Rink W. ESR dating of the Die Kelders Cave 1 site, South Africa. J Hum Evol. 2000;38:121-8 pubmed
    ..Agreement between replicate subsamples was excellent. ..
  19. Bedrick E, Lapidus J, Powell J. Estimating the Mahalanobis distance from mixed continuous and discrete data. Biometrics. 2000;56:394-401 pubmed
    ..Asymptotic properties of the proposed estimator are developed. Two examples are discussed. ..
  20. Cabov T, Tomljenović K, Legović A, Kovac Z, Perić B, Jokic D. A case of canine hypodontia in an early Croatian cemetery Strance-Gorica. Coll Antropol. 2006;30:443-6 pubmed
    ..The frequency of hypodontia in the old Croatian cemetery Strance-Gorica was 3.7, which corresponds to the frequency of this anomaly in the 20th century population of Croatia. ..
  21. Hoover K, Corruccini R, Bondioli L, Macchiarelli R. Exploring the relationship between hypoplasia and odontometric asymmetry in Isola Sacra, an imperial Roman necropolis. Am J Hum Biol. 2005;17:752-64 pubmed
  22. Nargolwalla M, Begun D, Dean M, Reid D, Kordos L. Dental development and life history in Anapithecus hernyaki. J Hum Evol. 2005;49:99-121 pubmed
    ..2 years, is dramatically faster than any extant catarrhine of similar body mass. This represents yet another unusual attribute of this poorly known fossil catarrhine. ..
  23. L Engle Williams F. Enamel microwear texture properties of IGF 11778 (Oreopithecus bambolii) from the late Miocene of Baccinello, Italy. J Anthropol Sci. 2013;91:201-17 pubmed publisher
    ..IGF 11778 does not exhibit the degree of anisotropy characterizing Trachypithecus and Alouatta. The partial resemblance of IGF 11778 to some great ape specimens may indicate intermittent extractive and or terrestrial foraging. ..
  24. Daura J, Sanz M, Subirà M, Quam R, Fullola J, Arsuaga J. A Neandertal mandible from the Cova del Gegant (Sitges, Barcelona, Spain). J Hum Evol. 2005;49:56-70 pubmed
    ..This represents an important new addition to the human fossil record from the Iberian Peninsula and joins the Bañolas mandible in documenting the course of human evolution in the northern Mediterranean region of Spain. ..
  25. Lockwood C, Tobias P. Morphology and affinities of new hominin cranial remains from Member 4 of the Sterkfontein Formation, Gauteng Province, South Africa. J Hum Evol. 2002;42:389-450 pubmed
    ..africanus. However, two specimens document the possibility that a second, possibly new species is represented among the Member 4 hominins, although such a species is difficult to characterize on cranial evidence alone. ..
  26. Ackermann R, Krovitz G. Common patterns of facial ontogeny in the hominid lineage. Anat Rec. 2002;269:142-7 pubmed
  27. De Ruiter D, DeWitt T, Carlson K, Brophy J, Schroeder L, Ackermann R, et al. Mandibular remains support taxonomic validity of Australopithecus sediba. Science. 2013;340:1232997 pubmed publisher
    ..africanus in both size and shape as well as in their ontogenetic growth trajectory. ..
  28. Garcin V, Velemínský P, Trefny P, Alduc Le Bagousse A, Lefebvre A, Bruzek J. Dental health and lifestyle in four early mediaeval juvenile populations: comparisons between urban and rural individuals, and between coastal and inland settlements. Homo. 2010;61:421-39 pubmed publisher
  29. Kaiser T, Fortelius M. Differential mesowear in occluding upper and lower molars: opening mesowear analysis for lower molars and premolars in hypsodont horses. J Morphol. 2003;258:67-83 pubmed
    ..The results suggest a general extension of the mesowear method of paleodiet reconstruction and a basic scenario for the evolution of anisodont dentitions. ..
  30. Dean M, Schrenk F. Enamel thickness and development in a third permanent molar of Gigantopithecus blacki. J Hum Evol. 2003;45:381-7 pubmed
    ..With respect to enamel thickness, therefore, Gigantopithecus blacki falls squarely among an increasingly large number of Miocene hominoids that can all be described as having 'thick enamel'. ..
  31. Rosenberg K. Living longer: Information revolution, population expansion, and modern human origins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004;101:10847-8 pubmed
  32. Caspari R, Lee S. Older age becomes common late in human evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004;101:10895-900 pubmed
    ..We believe that this great increase contributed to population expansions and cultural innovations associated with modernity. ..
  33. Mancuso S. Articles to inspire thought and discussion. Gen Dent. 2003;51:6 pubmed
  34. Lanfranco L, Eggers S. The usefulness of caries frequency, depth, and location in determining cariogenicity and past subsistence: a test on early and later agriculturalists from the Peruvian coast. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2010;143:75-91 pubmed publisher
    ..Thus, we recommend that caries depth and locations should be used with evaluations of dental wear to reconstruct subsistence in ancient populations. ..
  35. Bondioli L, Bayle P, Dean C, Mazurier A, Puymerail L, Ruff C, et al. Technical note: Morphometric maps of long bone shafts and dental roots for imaging topographic thickness variation. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2010;142:328-34 pubmed publisher
  36. Prufrock K, Boyer D, Silcox M. The first major primate extinction: An evaluation of paleoecological dynamics of North American stem primates using a homology free measure of tooth shape. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2016;159:683-97 pubmed publisher
    ..If dietary niche overlap with rodents played a direct role in the decline of plesiadapiforms, it can only have potentially done so for Chiromyoides. ..
  37. Meng Y, Zhang H, Pan F, He Z, Shao J, Ding Y. Prevalence of dental caries and tooth wear in a Neolithic population (6700-5600 years BP) from northern China. Arch Oral Biol. 2011;56:1424-35 pubmed publisher
    ..1%), but the prevalence of tooth wear in men (99.0%) was significantly higher than that in women (95.2%). These findings indicate that both caries and tooth wear may be related to the subsistence and diet of this Neolithic population. ..
  38. Nava A, Bondioli L, Coppa A, Dean C, Rossi P, Zanolli C. New regression formula to estimate the prenatal crown formation time of human deciduous central incisors derived from a Roman Imperial sample (Velia, Salerno, Italy, I-II cent. CE). PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0180104 pubmed publisher
    ..The same regression formula, even when daily incremental markings are difficult to visualize, may provide a clue to predicting the proportion of infants born full term and pre-term in an archaeological series. ..
  39. Gibbons A. Paleoanthropology. Fossil teeth from Ethiopia support early, African origin for apes. Science. 2007;317:1016-7 pubmed
  40. Smith T, Rana R, Missiaen P, Rose K, Sahni A, Singh H, et al. High bat (Chiroptera) diversity in the Early Eocene of India. Naturwissenschaften. 2007;94:1003-9 pubmed
    ..This could result from the limited fossil record of bats in Asia, but could also suggest new palaeobiogeographic scenarios involving the relative position of India during the Early Eocene. ..
  41. Mahoney P. Microwear and morphology: functional relationships between human dental microwear and the mandible. J Hum Evol. 2006;50:452-9 pubmed
    ..It may be that some correlations between microwear and mandibular morphology are predictable, reflecting similar aspects of masticatory loading, though the full extent of the relationship remains to be resolved. ..
  42. Eshed V, Gopher A, Hershkovitz I. Tooth wear and dental pathology at the advent of agriculture: new evidence from the Levant. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2006;130:145-59 pubmed
    ..2) Changes in food-preparation techniques and nondietary usage of the teeth explain much of the variation in tooth condition in populations before and after the agricultural revolution. ..
  43. Vinyard C, Hanna J. Molar scaling in strepsirrhine primates. J Hum Evol. 2005;49:241-69 pubmed
    ..We hypothesize that this association may be underlain by a partial sharing of the patterning of development between molar and facial skull elements. ..
  44. Cunha E, Rozzi F, Bermudez De Castro J, Martinón Torres M, Wasterlain S, Sarmiento S. Enamel hypoplasias and physiological stress in the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene hominins. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2004;125:220-31 pubmed
    ..Assuming a periodicity of nine days for the incremental lines, the majority of LEH in the SH sample occurred during the third year of life and may be related to the metabolic stress associated with weaning. ..
  45. Bailey S, Lynch J. Diagnostic differences in mandibular P4 shape between Neandertals and anatomically modern humans. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2005;126:268-77 pubmed
    ..Moreover, based on a comparison of mean tooth shapes in fossil and recent humans, symmetry, rather than asymmetry, appears to be the primitive state, and the high frequency of P(4) asymmetry is likely derived in Neandertals. ..
  46. Luo Z, Ji Q, Wible J, Yuan C. An Early Cretaceous tribosphenic mammal and metatherian evolution. Science. 2003;302:1934-40 pubmed
    ..New data from this fossil support the view that Asia was likely the center for the diversification of the earliest metatherians and eutherians during the Early Cretaceous. ..
  47. Tobias P. Paleoanthropology. Encore Olduvai. Science. 2003;299:1193-4 pubmed
  48. Gibbons A. Becoming human. In search of the first hominids. Science. 2002;295:1214-9 pubmed
  49. Alba D, Moya Sola S, Kohler M. Canine reduction in the miocene hominoid Oreopithecus bambolii: behavioural and evolutionary implications. J Hum Evol. 2001;40:1-16 pubmed
    ..This mechanism of canine reduction highlights the significance of developmental constraints in evolution and had not been previously suggested for any anthropoid primate. ..
  50. Nasidze I, Stoneking M. Construction of larger-size sequencing templates from degraded DNA. Biotechniques. 1999;27:480-4, 488 pubmed
    ..As an example, the entire hypervariable region 1 of human mtDNA (418 bp) was reconstructed in one step from five overlapping amplification products (159, 126, 131, 131 and 93 bp) derived from a Paleolithic tooth specimen. ..
  51. Chaimanee Y, Lebrun R, Yamee C, Jaeger J. A new Middle Miocene tarsier from Thailand and the reconstruction of its orbital morphology using a geometric-morphometric method. Proc Biol Sci. 2011;278:1956-63 pubmed publisher
    ..The current restriction of tarsiers to offshore islands in Southeast Asia appears to be a relatively recent phenomenon...
  52. Godfrey L, Semprebon G, Jungers W, Sutherland M, Simons E, Solounias N. Dental use wear in extinct lemurs: evidence of diet and niche differentiation. J Hum Evol. 2004;47:145-69 pubmed
    ..This has possible implications for the role of the disappearance of wooded habitats in the extinction of lemurs. ..
  53. Lukacs J, Walimbe S, Floyd B. Epidemiology of enamel hypoplasia in deciduous teeth: explaining variation in prevalence in western India. Am J Hum Biol. 2001;13:788-807 pubmed