Temporal changes in human temporomandibular joint size and shape

Authors

  • Robert J. Hinton,

    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
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  • Dr. David S. Carlson

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
    2. Department of Anatomy and Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
    • Center for Human Growth and Development, 1111 E. Catherine, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
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  • This research was supported in part by Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Grant 2959 and by USPHS DE-03610 from the National Institutes of Health.

Abstract

Measurements approximating the size of the temporomandibular joint were taken on a series of genetically homogeneous populations from early Nubia, which span almost 10,000 years and embody a shift from a primarily hunting and gathering adaptation to a completely agricultural lifeway. A generalized trend of reduction of temporomandibular joint size was observed. In addition, a decrease in sexual dimorphism was apparent for all measures of joint size; a change primarily mitigated by reductions in male dimensions. The observed variation in size and form of the temporomandibular joint is most likely the result of the reduction in masticatory muscle robusticity and resultant changes in craniofacial form which have been documented for the transition from a hunting and gathering to an agricultural subsistence in Nubia.

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