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Keywords:

  • Temporomandibular joint;
  • Nubia;
  • Mastication;
  • Craniofacial evolution

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.