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Dimorphism in Dental Tissues: Sex differences in Archaeological Individuals for Multiple Tooth Types

By Christianne Fernée, Kate Robson Brown, Sonia Zakrzewski

Posted 27 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.27.401448

Objectives: Dimorphism in the dentition has been observed in human populations worldwide. However, research has largely focused on traditional linear crown measurements. As imaging systems, such as micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), become increasingly more accessible, new dental measurements such as dental tissue size and proportions can be obtained. This research investigates the variation of dental tissues and proportions by sex in archaeological samples. Materials and Methods: Upper and lower first incisor to second premolar tooth rows were obtained from 30 individuals (n=300), from 3 archaeological samples. The teeth were micro-CT scanned and surface area and volumetric measurements were obtained from the surface meshes extracted. Dental wear was also recorded and differences between sexes determined. Results: Enamel and crown measurements were found to be larger in females. Conversely, dentine and root measurements were larger in males. Discussion: The findings support the potential use of dental tissues to estimate sex of individuals from archaeological samples, whilst also indicating that individuals aged using current dental ageing methods may be under- or over-aged due to sex differences in enamel thickness.

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