Dents, mâchoires, bouche…

Reconstruction d’anciens régimes alimentaires

Inference of Diets of Early Hominins from Primate Molar Form and Microwear [PDF]
P.S. Ungar
Journal of Dental Research, 2019

A trend in occlusal morphology suggests decreased dietary specialization from Australopithecus to early Homo, and increasing dispersion in microwear complexity values is consistent with this. On the other hand, occlusal morphology may suggest dietary specialization in Paranthropus, although different species of this genus have different microwear texture patterns despite similar craniodental adaptation

Stable isotope-based diet reconstructions of Turkana Basin hominins [PDF]
Cerning et al.
PNAS, 2013

By ca. 2 Ma, hominins in the Turkana Basin had split into two distinct groups: specimens attributable to the genus Homo provide evidence for a diet with a ca. 65/35 ratio of C3– to C 4-based resources, whereas P. boisei had a higher fraction of C4-based diet (ca. 25/75 ratio). Homo sp. increased the fraction of C4-based resources in the diet through ca. 1.5 Ma, whereas P. boisei maintained its high dependency on C4-derived resources

Dental Evidence for the Reconstruction of Diet in African Early Homo [PDF]
Peter Ungar
Current anthropology, 2012

These and other lines of evidence suggest a probable shift in diet in early Homo, and especially H. erectus, compared with their australopith forebears, with a broadened subsistence base to include foods with a wider range of fracture properties. Studies to date also make clear that while much remains to be done, early hominin teeth hold the potential to provide more detail about diet and confidence in our reconstructions as samples increase, our understanding of functional morphology improves, and other methods of analysis are applied to the fossils we have.
[…] Are these lines of evidence consistent with increased meat
eating or tool use in food preparation? The short answer is

Evidence for dietary change but not landscape use in South African early hominins [Texte intégral] [PDF]
Balter et al. (Braga)
Nature, 2012

The diet of P. robustus seems to have been less variable than that of
A. africanus and was mainly based on woody plant foodstuffs. This is consistent with the measured average Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios, which are indistinguishable from browsers, the reduced intra-tooth Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratio variability, and with dental microwear and tooth morphology data2,23. Similar to P. robustus, the diet of early Homo was less variable than that of A. africanus, but contrary to the diet of P. robustus, it was based more on meat products. Our results support the idea that the degree by which woody plants and underground storage organs were consumed by A. africanus was reduced in the Homo lineage, whereas the more specialized masticatory apparatus of the robust australopithecines enabled them to have subsisted mostly on this type of food.

Dental Microwear Texture and Anthropoid Diets [Abstract]
Robert S. Scott et al.
American journal of physical anthropology, 2012

species that consume more tough foods, such as leaves, tended to have high levels of anisotropy and low texture complexity. The converse was true for species including hard and brittle items in their diets either as staples or as fallback foods. These results reaffirm the utility of dental microwear texture analysis as an important tool in making dietary inferences based on fossil primate samples

The Diets of Early Hominins [PDF]
Peter S. Ungar & Matt Sponheimer
Science, 2011

Diet changes are considered key events in human evolution. Most studies of early hominin diets focused on tooth size, shape, and craniomandibular morphology, as well as stone toolsand butchered animal bones. However, in recent years, dental microwear and stable isotope analyses have hinted at unexpected diversity and complexity in early hominin diets.
[…] Morphological evidence suggests that early Homo had smaller cheek teeth, thinner dental enamel, and greater occlusal relief
than did their Australopithecus predecessors or their Paranthropus contemporaries (68) (Fig. 1). This may indicate changing selective pressures due to extraoral food processing with tools, but also suggests that early Homo teeth could more efficiently shear tough foods (such as leaves and meat) than could those of the australopiths.

Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of Homo [Texte]
Organ et al.
PNAS, 2011

We find that modern humans spend an order of magnitude less time feeding than predicted by phylogeny and body mass (4.7% vs. predicted 48% of daily activity). This result suggests that a substantial evolutionary rate change in feeding time occurred along the human branch after the human–chimpanzee split. Along this same branch, Homo erectus shows a marked reduction in molar size that is followed by a gradual, although erratic, decline in H. sapiens. We show that reduction in molar size in early Homo (H. habilis and H. rudolfensis) is explicable by phylogeny and body size alone. By contrast, the change in molar size to H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens cannot be explained by the rate of craniodental and body size evolution. Together, our results indicate that the behaviorally driven adaptations of food processing (reduced feeding time and molar size) originated after the evolution of Homo but before or concurrent with the evolution of H. erectus, which was around 1.9 Mya.

A brief review of the recent evolution of the human mouth in physiological and nutritional contexts [Abstract]
Lucas et al.
Physiology & Behavior, 2006

If there is a single point that a short review like this could
make, it would be to advance the idea that the physical
treatment of foods in the mouth is far more important than gut
physiologists and even dentists appear to realize

Dental topography and diets of Australopithecus afarensis and early Homo [Abstract]
Peter Ungar
Journal of human evolution, 2004

Early Homo shows steeper slopes and more relief than chimpanzees, whereas A. afarensis shows less slope and relief than any of the other groups.
[…] meat seems more likely to have been a key tough-food for early Homo than would have USOs

Anciens problèmes dentaires

Earliest evidence of caries lesion in hominids reveal sugar-rich diet for a Middle Miocene dryopithecine from Europe [Texte]
Fuss et al.
PLOS One, 2018

Its advanced primary caries, initiating on the intact enamel surface, indicates a frequent intake of highly cariogenic sugar-rich fruits, which likely exceeds the frugivory of extant chimpanzees.

The dawn of dentistry in the late upper Paleolithic: An early case of pathological intervention at Riparo Fredian [PDF]
Oxilia et al.
American journal of physical anthropology, 2017

The results are consistent with tool-assisted manipulation to remove necrotic or infected pulp in vivo and the subsequent use of a composite, organic filling. Fredian 5 confirms the practice of dentistry—specifically, a pathology-induced intervention—among Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers. As such, it appears that fundamental perceptions of biomedical knowledge and practice were in place long before the socioeconomic changes associated with the transition to food production in the Neolithic.

Earliest evidence of dental caries manipulation in the Late Upper Palaeolithic [Texte]
Oxilia et al.
Nature scientific reports, 2015

Prehistoric dental treatments were extremely rare, and the few documented cases are known from the Neolithic, when the adoption of early farming culture caused an increase of carious lesions. Here we report the earliest evidence of dental caries intervention on a Late Upper Palaeolithic modern human specimen (Villabruna) from a burial in Northern Italy.
[…] The specimen is a young male individual (ca. 25 years old) that was recovered in 1988 from the Epigravettian deposit of Riparo Villabruna (Sovramonte—Belluno, Italy) and was directly dated to around 14,160–13,820 cal yr BP

Earliest evidence for caries and exploitation of starchy plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from Morocco [PDF]
Humphrey et al.
PNAS, 2014

We present early evidence linking a high prevalence of caries to a reliance on highly cariogenic wild plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from North Africa. This evidence predates other high caries populations and the first signs of food production by several thousand years. We infer that increased reliance on wild plants rich in fermentable carbohydrates caused an early shift toward a disease-associated oral microbiota. Systematic harvesting and processing of wild food resources supported a more sedentary lifestyle during the Iberomaurusian than previously recognized. This research challenges commonly held assumptions that high rates of caries are indicative of agricultural societies.

The oral pathological conditions of the Broken Hill (Kabwe) 1 cranium [Texte]
Sarah A. Lacy
International journal of paleopathology, 2014

BH1 was suffering from multiple sources of infection and inflam-
mation, which resulted in bony remodeling and hypercementosis.
Many of the carious lesions expose the pulp chamber, which is
unusual for Pleistocene humans. These pathological conditions had
morbidity consequences for BH1; however, the lack of contempo-
rary fossils makes it difficult to make assertions about the general
morbidity of Middle Pleistocene African humans. Differential diag-
nosis suggests that age-related hyposalivation and dental wear,
lead exposure, and periodontal disease may have contributed to
the caries and periapical lesions of BH1 in the context of a mixed

Dental Caries in the Qafzeh 3 Middle Paleolithic Modern Human [Texte] [Texte]
Trinkaus & Pinilla
Paléorient, 2009

The Qafzeh 3 Middle Paleolithic early modern human partial dentition presents four antemortem defects, on the mesial and distal sides of the maxillary I¹, on the occlusal surface of the maxillary I², and on the distal crown of the mandibular

Dental Caries in the Aubesier 5 Neandertal Primary Molar [Abstract]
Trinkaus et al.
Journal of archeological science, 2000

The exfoliated maxillary primary first molar (dm1) from the Middle Palaeolithic of the Bau de l’Aubesier (Vaucluse, France), Aubesier 5, exhibits a mid-lingual pit which is identified as a modest carious lesion. The lesion is identified as such by the erosion of the surface through the dentoenamel junction into the dentine, with rounded margins exhibiting ante-mortem wear striae. It is the third documented case of such lesions among the Neandertals, indicating that these lesions were present, if still rare, among these late archaic humans.

La carie dentaire existait-elle chez l’homme du Paléolithique ? [Texte]
Bulletin de la société préhistorique française, 1967

Verger-Pratoucy 1967 caries paléolithique

A hypothetical role for vitamin K2 in the endocrine and exocrine aspects of dental caries [Texte]
Ken Southward
Medical Hypotheses, 2015

Data collected from several selected primitive cultures on the cusp of civilization demonstrated the difference in dental health due to diet. The primitive diet group had few carious lesions compared to the group which consumed a civilized diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. The primitives were able to include the fat soluble vitamins, specifically K2, in their diet.


Sur les possibles adaptations de la dentition humaine à la consommation de viande, voir cette vidéo, entre 4′ et 7′ environ, avec Peter Ungar.


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