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Keywords:

  • Mesiodistal;
  • Buccolingual;
  • Dental reduction;
  • Calculus;
  • Alveolar resorption;
  • Enamel hypoplasias;
  • Dental genetics

Abstract

Yugoslav Mesolithic dentition exhibits maximum mesiodistal reduction compared with contemporary European and North African groups. This reduction is not explained entirely by attrition, and may be seen as a continuation of the European Upper Paleolithic trend. Buccolingual dimension does not reduce as much. In fact, this dimension in premolars and molars is larger than in other groups. This observation also occurs in Natufians, who were grain collectors, hunters, and gatherers. The Yugoslav Mesolithic group was collecting and domesticating Cerelia as well as fishing and hunting. Linear enamel hypoplasias (LEH) indicate childhood stress through the fifth year, which corroborates previously reported incidence of rickets in this group. The central maxillary incisors and canines manifest higher degrees of LEH, but the appearance on the second molars suggest a more severe physiological disruption. Sex differences in distributions of alveolar resorption and calculus suggest differences in diet or nutritional stress. Previous reports indicate that females had higher incidence of osteomalacia. If so, female nutritional stress may explain the extreme mesiodistal reduction and minimal sexual dimorphism in this group.