Masticatory habits of the adult Neanderthal individual BD 1 from La Chaise-de-Vouthon (France)

María Hernaiz-García*, Clément Zanolli, Laura Martín-Francés, Arnaud Mazurier, Stefano Benazzi, Rachel Sarig, Jing Fu, Ottmar Kullmer, Luca Fiorenza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The analysis of dental wear provides a useful approach for dietary and cultural habit reconstructions of past human populations. The analysis of macrowear patterns can also be used to better understand the individual chewing behavior and to investigate the biomechanical responses during different biting scenarios. The aim of this study is to evaluate the diet and chewing performance of the adult Neanderthal Bourgeois-Delaunay 1 (BD 1) and to investigate the relationship between wear and cementum deposition under mechanical demands. Materials and methods: The macrowear pattern of BD 1 was analyzed using the occlusal fingerprint analysis method. We propose a new method for the bilateral measurement of the cementum volume along both buccal and lingual sides of the molar root. Results: BD 1's anterior dentition is more affected by wear compared to the posterior one. The macrowear pattern suggest a normal chewing behavior and a mixed-diet coming from temperate environments. The teeth on the left side of the mandible display greater levels of wear, as well as the buccal side of the molar crowns. The cementum analysis shows higher buccal volume along the molar roots. Discussion: BD1 could have been preferably chewing on the left side of the mandible. The exploitation of various food resources suggested by the macrowear analysis is compatible with the environmental reconstructions. Finally, the greater wear on the buccal side of the molar occlusal surface and the greater volume of cementum in that side of the molar roots offers a preliminary understanding about the potential correlation between dental wear and cementum deposition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24926
JournalAmerican Journal of Biological Anthropology
Volume184
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

Funding

FundersFunder number
Horizon Program‐Marie Sklodowska‐Curie Actions of the EU2021‐2027, 101060482
Australian Research CouncilDP190100465
Australian Research Council
Monash University

    Keywords

    • biomechanics
    • dental macrowear
    • diet
    • ecology
    • occlusal fingerprint analysis

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