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Crown dimensions of deciduous teeth from prehistoric India.

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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.
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