Dental morphological (non-metric) traits in human isolates -South Sinai Bedouin tribes

D. Moskona, M. Vainder, I. Hershkovitz, E. Kobyliansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Data are presented on the dental morphology of children (boys and girls) 6-14 years of age from nine Bedouin tribes of Southern Sinai assigned into four groups as follows: Gebeliya, Muzeina, Hamada and Aliquat, and a mixed group of «other tribes», Sawalcha, Beni-Wassal, Haweitat, Garasha and Awlad-Said. Morphological dental traits in Bedouins are of interest because some of the tribes are isolated social groups, owing largely to strong tribal endogamy. Tooth morphology was studied from dental casts made from special hard yellow plaster, with microfine alginate as the impression material. A total of 352 casts were made, focusing on 31 maxillary traits (29PD and 2DD) and 26 mandibular traits (24PD and 2DD). Incidences of traits in relation to sex, age, and ethnic group were recorded and differences in incidence were tested by «chi-square» test. No significant differences were noted between males and females nor any significant interaction between age and sex and the frequency of traits. The dental morphological traits in the total sample of Bedouins were divided into three categories: 1. Stable traits, occurring in 100% of the entire sample, whose bilateral presence provided good evidence of full genotype penetrance, probably due to their functional importance, or perhaps as a result of simple genetic control (not multifactorial. 2. Less stable traits occurring at a high frequency (76%-99%) and relating mainly to cusp number, whose considerable bilateral presence was probably due to their functional importance. 3. Unstable traits occurring at frequencies ranging from 10% to 75%. The results for 13 out of 57 traits on both sides, and for 12 out of 57 traits on one side only, indicated statistically significant differences between the four studied groups. The biological distances were determined using 57 dental morphological traits, and the average distance between the tribes were calculated by cluster analyses. The Gebeliya tribe differed significantly from the other tribes. These dental morphological differences of the Gebeliya tribe may be attributed to its ethnic composition, comprising a mixture of European, Mongoloid, and Negroid components. Finally, the Bedouin groups were compared with groups of different ethnic origin: the frequencies of some dental traits in the Bedouin groups were comparable to those in Caucasoids, other to Mongoloids, and yet others to Negroids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-284
Number of pages58
JournalHOMO- Journal of Comparative Human Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1997


Dive into the research topics of 'Dental morphological (non-metric) traits in human isolates -South Sinai Bedouin tribes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this