Inference of Diets of Early Hominins from Primate Molar Form and Microwear
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
Earliest evidence of dental caries manipulation in the Late Upper Palaeolithic
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
Humphrey et al.
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.
Dental Evidence for the Reconstruction of Diet in African Early Homo
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.
Evidence for dietary change but not landscape use in South African early hominins
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 themeasured 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 organs21
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
Dental Microwear Texture and Anthropoid Diets
Robert S. Scott et al.
American journal of physical anthropology, 2012
species that consume moretough foods, such as leaves, tended to have high levels ofanisotropy and low texture complexity. The converse wastrue for species including hard and brittle items in theirdiets either as staples or as fallback foods. These resultsreaffirm the utility of dental microwear texture analysisas an important tool in making dietary inferences basedon fossil primate samples
The Diets of Early Hominins
Peter S. Ungar & Matt Sponheimer
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.
Dental topography and diets of Australopithecus afarensis and early Homo
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