Five evolutionarily significant dental traits were identified from a B-square distance analysis of nine crown characters recorded for several populations of East Asia and Oceania. Intergroup variation in these traits distinguishes three major divisions of the Mongoloid dental complex: sundadonty, sinodonty, and the dental pattern of Australian Aborigines. The Australian crown features may be characterized as having high frequencies of evolutionarily conservative characters. Negritos, one of the probable representatives of indigenous inhabitants of Southeast Asia who may have shared a common ancestor with Australians, possess the more derived sundadont dental pattern. As far as the five crown traits treated here are concerned, Australian dental features may be described as conforming to a “proto-sundadont” dental pattern, applying Turner's terminology. This pattern may represent a microevolutionary step prior to the emergence of the sundadont and sinodont patterns. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.