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The study of dental occlusion in ancient skeletal remains from Mallorca (Spain): A new approach based on dental clinical practice

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Fiorin, E 
Ibáñez-Gimeno, P 
Cadafalch, J 
Malgosa, A 


Occlusal characteristics, fundamental to assess the presence of malocclusion, have been often unexplored in bioarchaeological analyses. This is largely due to the fragmented condition of the skeletal remains. By applying a method that considers dental and maxillary features useful to evaluate occlusion in ancient fragmentary material, the purpose of this work is to define the occlusal features and explore the causes of malocclusion in a mediaeval population from Mallorca. The findings of this study suggest that normocclusion was present in ca. 60% of the individuals (N=31), and that some characteristics, such as molar relationship, were slightly different from those of modern populations. The analysis of the occlusal features revealed for example that open-bite was absent in 85% of the sample, posterior open-bite was completely absent and overbite and overjet were normal in around 90% of the individuals. Statistically significant correlations between canine and molar relationships and between molar relationship and dental wear of the superior and inferior canines and incisors were observed. In addition, wear could affect the curve of Spee. All these findings strengthen the hypothesis that in ancient times malocclusion was not as generalized as in modern times. Although the factors that lead to malocclusion throughout centuries could have several causes, we suggest that in this population dental wear, which is strongly associated with the diet, was the fundamental causing factor.



Body Remains, Dental Occlusion, Female, Fossils, History, Medieval, Humans, Male, Malocclusion, Paleodontology, Spain

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HOMO- Journal of Comparative Human Biology

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