Markings on Neanderthal teeth as evidence of Prehistoric dentistry

Archaeologists discovered multiple toothpick grooves on teeth and signs of other manipulations on Neanderthal teeth, dating back 130000 years, that were found at the Krapina site in Croatia.

Three views of the four articulated teeth that were studied: from top – occlusal, lingual and buccal (by David Frayer & University of Kansas)

The new study of the Krapina Neanderthal fossils which were discovered more than 100 years ago at the site revealed that the individual possibly was having a dental problem and was trying to treat it by manipulations with some kind of a tool, resulting in creation of grooves, breaks and scratches on the enamel surface of the premolar tooth. During the study the tooth samples were analysed with a light microscope to document occlusal wear, toothpick groove formation, scratches, and ante mortem, lingual enamel fractures. Researchers found that the premolar and M3 molar were pushed out of their normal positions and numerous scratches were found on them and further teeth. According to the researchers, this indicates that the Neanderthal individual was pushing something into the mount to reach the twisted premolar.

Toothpick grooves, irregular interproximal facets and other anomalies on one of the teeth (by David Frayer & University of Kansas)

(after PhysOrg, David Frayer & University of Kansas)

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