Task activity and anterior tooth grooving in prehistoric California Indians


  • Peter D. Schulz

    1. Division of Resource Management and Protection, California Department of Parks and Recreation, P.O. Box 2390, Sacramento, California 95811
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Abraded grooves have been observed on the anterior teeth of all the adults in a small population of prehistoric California Indians. These dental effects show considerable variety, appearing on maxillary and mandibular teeth, on approximal and occulusal surfaces, and either isolated or bilaterally aligned. Although many of the grooves are indistinguishable from those reported for other prehistoric populations, their variety illustrates the limited applicability of etiological hypotheses previously proposed to account for such effects. It is suggested that the grooves represent traces of a task activity involving the pulling of fibrous materials across the teeth.