A novel system for classifying tooth root phenotypes.
Human root and canal number and morphology are highly variable, and internal root canal form and count does not necessarily co-vary directly with external morphology. While several typologies and classifications have been developed to address individual components of teeth, there is a need for a comprehensive system, that captures internal and external root features across all teeth. Using CT scans, the external and internal root morphologies of a global sample of humans are analysed (n = 945). From this analysis a method of classification that captures external and internal root morphology in a way that is intuitive, reproducible, and defines the human phenotypic set is developed. Results provide a robust definition of modern human tooth root phenotypic diversity. The method is modular in nature, allowing for incorporation of past and future classification systems. Additionally, it provides a basis for analysing hominin root morphology in evolutionary, ecological, genetic, and developmental contexts.