The Ratón Pérez collection: Modern deciduous human teeth at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (Burgos, Spain)

Objectives The aim of this report is to present the large deciduous tooth collection of identified children that is housed at the National Research Center on Human Evolution (CENIEH) in Burgos, Spain. Methods Yearly, members of the Dental Anthropology Group of the CENIEH are in charge of collecting the teeth and registering all the relevant information from the donors at the time of collection. In compliance with Spanish Law 14/2007 of July 3, 2007, on Biomedical Research (BOE-A-2007-12945), all individuals are guaranteed anonymity and confidentiality. When the donor hands in the tooth, they fill out a Donor Information Form and sign the Informed Consent Form. At the same time, another person completes the data label for the transparent polyethylene zip lock bag where the tooth is temporarily stored. All teeth are then transferred to the CENIEH Restoration lab, where the specialists apply the same protocol as for the fossil remains. Results Although the sample is still growing, from the first collection campaign in 2014 to date it comprises 2977 teeth of children whose ages of tooth loss are between 2 and 15 years. Each tooth is associated with basic information of the individuals and their parents and grandparents (sex, date, and place of birth, ancestry, country of residence), as well as important data about early life history (pregnancy duration, breastfeeding, bottle-feeding) and other relevant information provided by the donors (such as if they are twins, dental loss, or dental extraction). Conclusions Due to the scarcity of deciduous dental samples available, the Ratón Pérez collection represents a highly valuable sample for a wide range of disciplines such as forensic, dental, and anthropological fields among others.

Ectopic maxillary third molar in Early Pleistocene Homo antecessor from Atapuerca-Gran Dolina site (Burgos, Spain)

Objectives Here we describe the case of an ectopic maxillary third molar (M3), preventing the eruption of the M2, in the individual H3 of the hominin hypodigm of level TD6.2 of the Early Pleistocene site of Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain). Materials and Methods The fossil remains from the TD6.2 level of the Gran Dolina site (about 170 specimens) are assigned to Homo antecessor. Different geochronological methods place these hominins in the oxygen isotopic stage 21, between 0.8 and 0.85 million years ago (Ma). The immature individual H3 is represented by an almost complete midface (ATD6-69), preserving various teeth in situ. We used high-resolution microtomograhy (mCT) to investigate the abnormal position of the left M3, virtually reconstruct M2, and M3 as well as assessing the development stage of these. Finally, we compare this case with extinct and extant populations. Results Based on the identified signs, we suggest that individual H3 suffered from a unilateral impaction of the M2 as a result of the ectopic position of the developing M3. Discussion We conclude that the most likely etiology for the ectopic position of the M3 is the lack of space in the maxilla. We discuss possible contributing factors, such as morphometric aspects of the maxilla and the early mineralization of the M3, to support the M2 impaction. Finally, due to the early age at death of this individual we did not identify any secondary lesion associated with the M2 impaction.

Modern humans sex estimation through dental tissue patterns of maxillary canines

Objectives Dental tissue proportions of human permanent canines is one of only a few sexually dimorphic features that is present in childhood and maintained in adults, offering the opportunity for this to be used in sex determination. This study assesses dental tissue volumes and surface areas of maxillary permanent canines in a sample of known sex to provide new data and to explore the potential of these variables as reliable sexual estimators. Materials and methods The teeth studied here derive from 56 individuals (27 females and 29 males) of known sex and age, and of different geographic origins. The teeth were scanned and three-dimensional (3D) measurements (volumes and surface areas) were obtained. In addition, a discriminant function analysis was applied. Results The results presented here concur with those previously published in relation to both size and dental tissue patterns. Male maxillary canines have a greater dentine component, whereas female enamel is thicker, leading to a difference in dental size in favor of males. Discriminant functions were calculated using these histological variables successfully identifying sex in between 87.5% and 93.75% of the known-sex hold-out sample, with 92.3% correctly assigned when all functions were applied together. Discussion The present study supports that methods for sex determination based on dental tissue measurements can achieve high allocation accuracies, being especially useful in the case of subadults or when no other appropriate method is available.

Contribution of dental tissues to sex determination in modern human populations

Objectives Accurate sex estimation is an essential step for the reconstruction of the biological profile of human remains. Earlier studies have shown that elements of the human permanent dentition are sexually dimorphic. The aims of this study are to determine the degree of sexual dimorphism in the dental tissue volumes and surface areas of mandibular canines and to explore its potential for reliable sex determination. Method The teeth included in this study (n = 69) were selected from anthropological collections from Spain, South Africa and Sudan. In all cases, the sex of the individuals was known. The teeth were scanned and three-dimensional (3D) measurements (volumes and surfaces areas) were obtained. Finally, a dsicriminant function analysis was applied. Results Our results showed that sexual dimorphism in canine size is due to males having greater amounts of dentine, whereas enamel volume does not contribute significantly to overall tooth size dimorphism. Classification accuracy of the multivariable equations tested on slightly worn teeth ranged from 78 to 90.2% for the crossvalidation, and from 71.43 to 84.62% for the hold-out sample validation. When all functions were applied together, the sex was correctly assigned 92.30% of the time. Conclusions Our results suggest that the 3D variables from mandibular canine dental tissues are useful for sex determination as they present a high degree of dimorphism. The results obtained show the importance of 3D dental tissue measurements as a methodology in sex determination, which application should be considered as a supplemental method to others.

New methodology to reconstruct in 2-D the cuspal enamel of modern human lower molars

Objectives In the last years different methodologies have been developed to reconstruct worn teeth. In this article, we propose a new 2-D methodology to reconstruct the worn enamel of lower molars. Our main goals are to reconstruct molars with a high level of accuracy when measuring relevant histological variables and to validate the methodology calculating the errors associated with the measurements. Methods This methodology is based on polynomial regression equations, and has been validated using two different dental variables: cuspal enamel thickness and crown height of the protoconid. In order to perform the validation process, simulated worn modern human molars were employed. The associated errors of the measurements were also estimated applying methodologies previously proposed by other authors. Results The mean percentage error estimated in reconstructed molars for these two variables in comparison with their own real values is −2.17% for the cuspal enamel thickness of the protoconid and −3.18% for the crown height of the protoconid. This error significantly improves the results of other methodologies, both in the interobserver error and in the accuracy of the measurements. Conclusions The new methodology based on polynomial regressions can be confidently applied to the reconstruction of cuspal enamel of lower molars, as it improves the accuracy of the measurements and reduces the interobserver error. The present study shows that it is important to validate all methodologies in order to know the associated errors. This new methodology can be easily exportable to other modern human populations, the human fossil record and forensic sciences.

Early Pleistocene hominin deciduous teeth from the Homo antecessor Gran Dolina-TD6 bearing level (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain)

Objectives. During the last 13 years, the late Early Pleistocene Gran Dolina-TD6-2 level (Sierra de Atapuerca, northern Spain) has yielded an additional sample of 26 dental specimens attributed to Homo antecessor. In this report, we present a descriptive and comparative study of the six deciduous teeth. Methods. We provide external and internal morphological descriptions following classical terminology, as well as the mesiodistal and buccolingual measurements of the teeth. The internal morphology was described by means of micro-CT technique. Results. The TD6 deciduous teeth preserve primitive features regarding the Homo clade, such as the presence of styles in lower and upper canines and developed anterior and posterior foveae in the dm2. However, other features related to the complexity of the crown morphology (e.g., cingulum) are not present in this sample. Furthermore, the great reduction of the talonid of the dm1s is also noteworthy. Despite the limited comparative evidence, the presence of a remarkably well-developed tuberculum molare in the dm1 and dm1s from TD6 can be also considered a derived feature in the genus Homo. The TD6 hominins exhibit dental dimensions similar to those of other Pleistocene hominins. The dm1s are buccolingually elongated and the buccolingual diameter of ATD6-93 is the largest recorded so far in the Homo fossil record. Conclusions. This study expands the list of plesiomorphic features of H. antecessor, and provides some information on the evolutionary status of this species. However, the identification of some advanced traits evinces a step towards the derived morphology of European Pleistocene teeth. The study of the deciduous dentition confirms the mosaic pattern of H. antecessor morphology revealed in previous studies of this hominin sample.

Virtual reconstruction of the Early Pleistocene mandible ATD6-96 from Gran Dolina-TD6-2 (Sierra De Atapuerca, Spain)

Objectives In this report, we present a further study of the late Early Pleistocene ATD6-96 human mandible, recovered from the TD6-2 level of the Gran Dolina cave site (Sierra de Atapuerca, northern Spain) and attributed to Homo antecessor. Methods ATD6-96 consists of a left half of a gracile mandible of an adult individual with the premolars and molars in place that is broken at the level of the lateral incisor-canine septum. The present analysis is based on a virtual reconstruction of the whole mandible by means of computed tomography (CT). We have reconstructed the symphysis using information from a modern human sample, as well as from a wide sample composed of several Homo specimens. Results This research has allowed us to record new variables with taxonomic and phylogenetic interest. We have estimated the length/width index of the alveolar arcade, as well as the percentage of the arcade length with regard to the total length. The latter confirms that ATD6-96 shares with all African and Asian Homo species a primitive structural pattern, as it was established in previous studies. In constrast, the length/width index of the alveolar arcade in the H. antecessor specimen is close to the mean values of Neandertals and the Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos hominins. Conclusions H. antecessor is derived regarding the shape of the mandibular alveolar arcade within the genus Homo and points to an early divergence from contemporaneous African populations. Our results also ratify the affinities of H. antecessor with Neanderthals, although the precise relationship with this lineage needs further research. Am J Phys Anthropol 159:729–736, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Early Pleistocene human humeri from the Gran Dolina-TD6 site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain)

In this report, we present a morphometric comparative study of two Early Pleistocene humeri recovered from the TD6 level of the Gran Dolina cave site in Sierra de Atapuerca, northern Spain. ATD6-121 belongs to a child between 4 and 6 years old, whereas ATD6-148 corresponds to an adult. ATD6-148 exhibits the typical pattern of the genus Homo, but it also shows a large olecranon fossa and very thin medial and lateral pillars (also present in ATD6-121), sharing these features with European Middle Pleistocene hominins, Neandertals, and the Bodo Middle Pleistocene humerus. The morphology of the distal epiphysis, together with a few dental traits, suggests a phylogenetic relationship between the TD6 hominins and the Neandertal lineage. Given the older geochronological age of these hominins (ca. 900 ka), which is far from the age estimated by palaeogenetic studies for the population divergence of modern humans and Neandertals (ca. 400 ka), we suggest that this suite of derived “Neandertal” features appeared early in the evolution of the genus Homo. Thus, these features are not “Neandertal” apomorphies but traits which appeared in an ancestral and polymorphic population during the Early Pleistocene. Am J Phys Anthropol 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.