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Brief communication: The use of alternative dental measurements on deciduous teeth



The present study investigates the utility of cervical measurements in deciduous teeth and how they correlate with traditional measurements of the crown. First, this study establishes definitions by which these measurements could reliably be taken. Next, deciduous cervical and traditional crown diameters were taken on three distinct skeletal samples: a Neolithic assemblage from Central Anatolia (Çatalhöyük, n = 85), a precontact sample from Northern California (CA-ALA-329, n = 34), and a group of intrusive burials interred at Çatalhöyük that date between AD 60 and 1650 (n = 38). Across the dentition there are positive correlations between crown and cervical measurements, which tend to be higher in anterior teeth than in posterior teeth. Both measurements show low correlations with age; however, cervical measurements show fewer negative correlations with age. An intraobserver error study found low levels of error for both types of measurements. On a subset of the Çatalhöyük sample (n = 9), a principal components and biological distance analysis were conducted comparing the two types of measurements. Also, all three samples were subject to a canonical discriminant function analysis and the results from cervical and crown measurements were compared. All analyses produced slightly different results for each type of data suggesting that crown and cervical measurements capture different aspects of tooth shape. While cervical and crown measurements provide different statistical results, cervical measurements can provide information relevant to anthropological studies and may allow for larger datasets to be used by allowing the inclusion of teeth with modified crowns. Am J Phys Anthropol 149:299–306, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.