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Keywords:

  • Eskimo;
  • Tooth morphology;
  • Cusp number

Abstract

A study of 35 coastal and 64 inland Alaskan Eskimos revealed a reduction in the number of cusps from the first to the third maxillary molar. While 97% of the first molars had four cusps, only 39.6% of the second molars and 15.2% of the third molars had that number.

The reduction occurs through elimination of the hypocone.

No statistically significant sex difference in the trend towards reduction in the cusp numbers was found.

In the inland female group the occurrence of four cusps in the maxillary second molar was statistically higher than in the coastal female group. This may be due to a more pronounced racial admixture of white people along the coast. A similar difference, although not statistically significant, was found in the corresponding male groups.

Alaskan Eskimos have a tendency towards a lower frequency of four cusps on all three maxillary molars than Aleuts. Only the second molar exhibited a statistically significant difference in this respect.

A statistical evaluation revealed that in the Alaskan Eskimo maxillary first and third molars the reduction of cusps is independent of the size and form of the molars and of the suppression of the third molar.

For the second molar, however, the groups with four well-developed cusps showed significantly larger buccolingual diameter.