AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 55261-266 (1981) Crown Dimensions of Deciduous Teeth From Prehistoric India JOHN R. LUKACS Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403 Deciduous, Tooth size, Prehistory, India, KEY WORDS Chalcolithic, Inamgaon ABSTRACT Mean mesiodistal and buccolingual diameters are presented for deciduous teeth from the important Chalcolithic site of Inamgaon (1400700 B.C.), a prehistoric farming community on the Deccan Plateau of western India. The deciduous teeth from Inamgaon are consistently larger than deciduous teeth of modern populations of European descent and smaller than the deciduous teeth of modern Australian aboriginals. Comparative data for prehistoric deciduous teeth are rare, especially for populations of southern Asia. The deciduous teeth of Mesolithic Europeans are comparable in size to certain dimensions of the Inamgaon teeth, and a small sample of deciduous teeth from the Iron Age site of Pomparippu (Sri Lanka) exhibits larger anterior teeth and smaller molar teeth than does the sample from Inamgaon. The anthropological value of morphological and metrical aspects of human dental variation is attested to by the voluminous literature documenting the size, shape, and patterns of variation in the permanent dentition (Brace, 1962, 1980; Turner, 1979a,b; Wolpoff, 1971). The potential value of deciduous dental variation in solving problems of anthropological concern has been greatly overlooked in the past, with some exceptions (Jorgensen, 1956, von Koenigswald, 1967). The recent revival of interest in the dimensions, morphology, and pathology of deciduous teeth is largely attributable to the adoption of demographic and evolutionary models in the study of prehistoric skeletal populations. Prenatal dental pathology in Middle and Late Woodland Indians of the Lower Illinois Valley proved useful as a measure of natural selective forces operating on this prehistoric population (Cook and Buikstka, 1979). Evolutionary modifications of the deciduous teeth of Near Eastern populations are interpreted as adaptive responses to changing selective factors through time (Smith, 1978).In order to establish a broad comparative framework for deciduous tooth size in living populations, crown dimensions of deciduous teeth have recently been reported for Australian aborigines 0002-9483/81/5502-0261$02.00 0 1981 ALAN R. LISS, INC. IMargetts and Brown, 1978) and American populations of European descent (Black, 1978). The effects of prenatal health and diet on the crown dimensions of certain deciduous and permanent teeth were recently analyzed to assess the extent of maternal influence (Garn et al., 1979). Morphological features of the deciduous dentition are less widely known for the worlds populations. Hanihara’s (1963) analysis of the deciduous dention of JapaneseAmerican hybrids is a landmark study, but much more data on deciduous tooth morphology needs to be systematically collected. Published sources on crown dimensions of deciduous teeth for prehistoric South Asian populations are nonexistent. However, these data are essential if questions regarding biological stress and adaptation during ontogeny are to be adequately answered in this Asian subcontinent. This paper presents mean values for mesiodistal and buccolingual crown dimensions of the deciduous teeth from the important Chalcolithic site of Inamgaon and conIstitUtes a first attempt to generate a data base For these aspects of human dental variation in South Asia. Received August 7, 1980: accepted November 26, 1980. 262 J. R. LUKACS MATERIALS AND METHODS Archaeological excavations at the Chalcolithic site of Inamgaon have yielded abundant cultural evidence of early farming communities of the Deccan Plateau (Dhavalikar, 1977, 1979; Sankalia et al., 1973, 1975). More recently, the anatomical and demographic characteristics of the inhabitants of this Chalcolithic settlement have been described (Lukacs and Badam, 1976-1977; Lukacs, unpublished paper, a). Situated 80 km east of Poona on the bank of the Ghod River in western Maharashtra (Fig. 11, Inamgaon has yielded (as of 1979)evidence of 124 human burials, 53 of which contain preserved human skeletal elements. The deciduous dental sample described below includes all the undamaged primary teeth of infants and children from Early and Late Jorwe periods at Inamgaon (1400-700 B.C.).' Many of the deciduous teeth recovered during excavations at Inamgaon are isolated tooth crowns, of which some retain the roots. Isolated teeth comprise about one-half the deciduous dental sample; the remaining teeth are preserved in proper anatomical position in the maxillae and mandibulae. The total deciduous dental sample from infant and child burials at Inamgaon is 203 teeth, 97 upper and 106 lower. Mesiodistal and buccolingual diameters were measured as maximum crown length and breadth according to the method outlined by Moorress (1957).Measurements were made by the author with a Helios dial caliper calibrated to 0.05 mm. Replicate measurements made on 29 dental casts of South Asian adults indicate a mean measurement error of 0.25 mm for this investigator - a value well within the range of measurement error (Lukacs, 1977; Wolpoff, 1971).Individual measurements were rounded to 0.1 mm and transferred from data collection cards to computer punch cards for statistical analysis by SPSS programs (Nie et al., 1975). RESULTS Mean mesiodistal and buccolingual crown diameters for the deciduous teeth from Inamgaon are presented in Tables 1 and 2. Mean values for crown dimensions and teeth from right (R) and left (L) sides are given separately.2 The level of asymmetry is very low. The greatest difference between right and left antimeres is 0.3 mm for the buccolingual and mesiodistal diameter of the maxillary canine. Comparative odontometric data for deciduous teeth are often absent from standard anthropometric manuals (Bass, 1971; Brothwell, 1972; Comas, 1960) and dental anatomy texts (Scott and Symons, 1972).In cases where deciduous crown dimensions are reported the population from which the sample was derived is not identified nor is the sample size given (Kraus et al., 1969; Olivier, 1969). Crown dimensions of the deciduous teeth from Inamgaon are compared with data from two modem and two prehistoric samples in Table 3. Since accurate sex determination of preadolescent skeletal remains is impossible, mean crown dimensions for all prehistoric dental samples include data for males and females. Crown dimensions for modern populations are obtained from dental casts of living subjects of known age and sex. The mean values given in Table 3 are only for the male segment of the Australian and American samples. This does not diminish the comparability of these data because the level of sexual dimorphism in deciduous teeth is known to be far less than in the permanent dentition (Black, 1978). In their mean mesiodistal (length)and buccolingual (breadth) dimensions most deciduous teeth of modern Australians are larger (by 0.1 to 0.8 mm) than the teeth from Inamgaon. In three dimensions, upper dm one length and breadth and lower di one length, the Australian and Inamgaon teeth are equal; and in one instance, lower dm one length, the crown diameter of the Inamgaon sample exceeds that reported for the Australian sample by 0.2 mm. American children of European descent exhibit consistently smaller deciduous crown dimension (by 0.1 to 0.9 mm) than the Inamgaon sample. However, the American sample exceeds the mean values reported for breadth of lower d c and dm one in the Inamgaon dental series, and the two groups exhibit equal means for upper di one and d c breadth. Differences in crown dimensions between the Inamgaon teeth and samples from Pomparippu, Sri Lanka, and Mesolithic Europe are less consistent. The anterior teeth (di one-d c) from Inamgaon are often smaller in their crown dimensions than the anterior teeth from either Pomparippu or Mesolithic Europe. However, crown dimensions of the Inamgaon molar teeth are equal to or larger than the molar teeth from Pomparippu and Mesolithic Europe. The differences in crown diameter between the 'A comparative morphometric analysis of the permanent dentition of the Inamgaon skeletal series is in progress and will soon he published (Lukacs. unpublished paper. h). 'Raw data are available on request from the author. 263 DECIDUOUS TOOTH SIZE IN PREHISTORIC INDIA GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION OF IMPORTANT CHALCOLITHIC SITES DECCAN PLATEAU 0 18 36 OF THE 72 5L c ' KILOMETER 0 MODERN CITY ARC HAELOGIC AL SITE ----- MODERN PAVED ROAD A ELLORA ,0 ! AURANGABAD > Fig. 1. Geographic location of important Chalcolithic sites of the Deccan Plateau. 264 J. R. LUKACS TABLE 1. Mesiodistal diameter (mm)of deciduous teeth fmm prehistoric Inamgaon Tooth - S.D. S.E. 6.83 6.97 0.45 0.72 0.18 0.27 6.2-7.4 6.3-8.2 10 7 5.51 5.64 0.52 0.53 0.17 0.20 4.7-6.2 4.9-6.2 R L 11 8 6.66 7.04 0.40 0.35 0.12 0.12 5.8-7.3 6.6-7.4 R L 11 13 7.56 7.54 0.43 0.31 0.13 0.09 6.7-8.1 6.8-7.9 m two R L 12 11 9.46 9.32 0.81 0.70 0.23 0.21 7.6-10.5 8.4-10.5 i one R L 8 8 4.48 4.46 0.23 0.21 0.08 0.08 4.1-4.8 4.1-4.8 i two R L 10 5 4.90 4.84 0.29 0.42 0.09 0.19 4.2-5.2 4.3-5.2 C R L 10 10 5.84 5.85 0.39 0.60 0.19 0.19 4.3-5.9 4.7-6.8 m one R L 15 11 8.47 8.36 0.72 0.74 0.19 0.22 7.0-9.7 7.0-9.5 R L 12 11 10.60 10.53 0.60 0.61 0.17 0.19 9.7-11.6 9.5-11.5 Side n R 6 7 L C m one X Range Maxilla i one L R i two Mandible m two TABLE 2. Buccolingual diameter (mm)of deciduous teeth from prehistoric Inamgaon X S.D. S.E. I 5.13 5.03 0.37 0.51 0.15 0.19 4.4-5.4 4.4-5.9 R L 10 6 4.91 4.95 0.57 0.43 0.18 0.18 4.1-5.7 4.4 -5.6 R L 11 8 5.94 6.16 0.53 0.47 0.16 0.17 4.9-6.8 5.4-6.7 m one R L 11 14 9.14 9.10 0.53 0.62 0.17 0.17 8.1-10.2 7.7-10.2 m two R L 10 9 10.06 10.09 0.88 0.80 0.28 0.27 8.1-11.3 8.9-11.5 i one R 9 8 4.18 3.94 0.33 0.15 0.11 0.05 3.7-4.7 3.8-4.2 L 10 5 4.44 4.52 0.26 0.41 0.08 0.18 4.2-5.0 4.2-5.1 C R L 8 7 5.31 5.36 0.54 0.40 0.19 0.15 4.3-5.9 5.0-6.1 m one R L 15 11 7.14 7.19 0.61 0.72 0.16 0.22 5.8-8.3 5.8-8.4 R L 13 14 9.06 9.09 0.58 0.54 0.16 0.14 8.5-10.3 8.3-10.3 Tooth Side n R 6 L i two C Range Maxilla i one Mandible L i two m two R DECIDUOUS TOOTH SIZE IN PREHISTORIC INDIA 265 Inamgaon sample and modern populations may well reflect adaptive responses to dietary stress during ontogeny. On the other hand, comparison of deciduous tooth crown diameter for prehistoric samples is limited by small sample sizes and may reflect sampling error rather than biological adaptation. Morphometric variation in human deciduous dentition can contribute substantially to our understanding of important evolutionary trends in Homo sapiens. The collection of data on size, shape, and pathology of deciduous teeth is important, as it promises to reveal the process of selection and adaptation during ontogeny in prehistoric populations. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Financial support for this research was provided by the Indo-American Fellowship Il-ogram (1979-1980) under the aegis of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and the Government of India, University Grants Commission. I am indebted to Dr. S. B. Deo (Director,Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute) for permission to study the valuable Inamgaon skeletal remains. Special thanks are due Dr. G. L. Badam for his enthusiastic cooperation in this and related research ventures. LITERATURE CITED Bass, WM (1971) Human Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual of the Human Skeleton. 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