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Keywords:

  • Dental reduction;
  • Dental anthropology;
  • Dental attrition;
  • Peru, prehistory;
  • PME;
  • Tooth size

Abstract

Teeth increase in size during a 9,000-year period in an archae-ologically derived, radiocarbon dated sample of skeletons from a geographically restricted area of coastal Peru. Although cultural change is extensive, including the transition to food production and pottery making, teeth do not reduce as predicted under these conditions by Brace's Probable Mutation Effect. Since most of the dental literature dealing with size change of teeth focuses upon dental reduction, hypotheses explaining why teeth increase through time are not well developed. No obvious selective forces explaining size increase are apparent in the present data. Attrition decreases through time. The increase in tooth size in this collection may be a function of overall cranialfacial size increase, which (pending further data) may be related to a general body size increase.