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Keywords:

  • Jomonese;
  • Dental anthropology;
  • Deciduous teeth;
  • Nonmetric trait

Abstract

Morphological variations of the deciduous dentition are as useful as those of the permanent dentition for determining the biological affinities of human populations. This paper provides material on morphological variations of deciduous teeth of the prehistoric Japanese population from the Late and the Latest Jomon Period (ca. 2000–ca. 300 B.C.).

The expression of nonmetric traits of the deciduous teeth in the Jomon sample shows a closer affinity with modern Japanese and Native American samples than with American White, Asiatic Indian, and African samples. However, the frequency of shoveling in deciduous upper incisors in the Jomon sample is lower than those in modern Japanese and Native American samples. The Jomon sample also expresses a much higher frequency of cusp 6 in deciduous lower second molars than seen in modern Japanese, Ainu, and Native American samples. The frequency in the Jomon sample is equal to that in the Australian Aboriginal sample, which shows cusp 6 most frequently among the samples compared.

A somewhat low incidence of incisor shoveling in the Jomon sample was also reported in the permanent dentition (Turner [1976] Science 193:911–913, [1979] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 51:619–635, [1987] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 73:305–321, [1990] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 82:295–317; T. Hanihara [1992] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 88:163–182, 88:183–196). However, the frequency of cusp 6 in the Jomon sample shows no significant difference from those of Northeast Asian or Native American samples in the permanent dentition (Turner [1987] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 73:305–321; T. Hanihara [1992] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 88:1–182, 88:183–196). Evidently, some nonmetric traits express an inter-group difference only in the deciduous dentition. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.