Atapuerca hominins had faster dental development than modern humans
The study of fossil human teeth It has multiple applications. One of them is to evaluate the times and growth patterns of dental pieces and their possible correlation with biological variables of human development and maturation, which allows us to open a window to see how the hominids of our evolutionary tree developed.
The Dental Anthropology Group of National Research Center on Human Evolution (CENIEH) and the Human Evolution Laboratory of the University of Burgos (UBU) lead an article recently posted on American Journal of Biological Anthropology about him tooth development pattern of two populations of the deposits of Atapuerca (Burgos): Homo predecessor from big sinkhole (860,000 years) and the hominins of the Chasm of the bones (430,000 years), whose results indicate that they have a faster relative molar development than that of modern humans.
The combination of both studies allows us to establish the hypothesis that the Atapuerca hominins would reach adulthood at around 14 and 15 years of age.
Mario Modesto Mata (Burgos University)
This investigation of relative dental development is complementary to the work carried out on the enamel formation times of these fossil populations from Atapuerca, published in Scientific Reports.
In this last work it was indicated that the growth of the enamel of H. predecessor and those found in the Sima de los Huesos was on average 27% faster than that of modern humans.
“Bearing in mind that there is a relative correlation between dental development and skeletal maturation, the combination of both studies allows us to establish the hypothesis that Atapuerca hominins would reach adulthood at around 14 and 15 years of age,” Explain Mario Modesto Mata, lead author of this article, along with Rebecca Garcia Gonzalez.
To carry out this work, a statistical approximation of the Teorema de Bayes of conditional probability, never before used for pre-Neanderthal populations. Teeth have been classified into eight categories according to their state of mineralization, obtained through computerized axial tomography (CAT) images performed at the CENIEH Microscopy and Microtomography Laboratory.
To carry out this work, a statistical approximation of the Bayes Theorem of conditional probability has been used, never before used for populations prior to the Neanderthals.
These categories have served to be compared at a statistical level with a relatively large sample of modern human dental development sequences. These modern sequences come from the University of Burgos and the University of Bordeaux. The latter includes a sample of people from sub-Saharan Africa.
“Not only have we found differences by comparing these two populations with modern humans, we have also been able to identify differences between H. predecessor and Sima de los Huesos. For example, the hominins from Sima de los Huesos present a development of the second molar more advanced with respect to the first molar than H. predecessor”, concludes Modesto Mata.
Modesto-Mata, Garcia-González et al. “Early and Middle Pleistocene hominins from Atapuerca (Spain) show differences in dental developmental patterns”. American Journal of Biological Anthropology, 2022.
Rights: Creative Commons.