December 07, 2005

Ancient Egyptian dental pattern

Ancient Egyptians had simple, mass-reduced teeth. This contrasts with the dental pattern of Sub-Saharan Africans who had (Irish, 2000) massive complex teeth:
Dentitions of Late Pleistocene Jebel Sahaba Nubians have extremely high frequencies of complex, mass-additive (and other) traits, including UI1 labial curvature, UI1 shoveling, Bushman Canine, UC distal accessory ridge, midline diastema, sixcusped LM1, LM2 Y-5, and LP1 Tome’s root. Furthermore, they exhibit low frequencies of typical North African features. This trait combination is ubiquitous in sub-Saharan Africans (Irish & Turner, 1990; Irish, 1993, 1997, 1998a,b, for details).
From the new article:
However, all 15 samples exhibit morphologically simple, mass reduced dentitions that are similar to those in populations from greater North Africa (Irish, 1993, 1998a–c, 2000) and, to a lesser extent, western Asia and Europe (Turner, 1985a; Turner and Markowitz, 1990; Roler, 1992; Lipschultz, 1996; Irish, 1998a). Similar craniofacial measurements among samples from these regions were reported as well (Brace et al., 1993).

And from Hanihara et al. a different study which shows the same Caucasoid affiliations of the Egyptian dental pattern. Thanks to the reader who pointed this out.

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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2005 Dec 5; [Epub ahead of print]

Who were the ancient Egyptians? Dental affinities among Neolithic through postdynastic peoples.

Irish JD.

Qualitative and quantitative methods are employed to describe and compare up to 36 dental morphological variants in 15 Neolithic through Roman-period Egyptian samples. Trait frequencies are determined, and phenetic affinities are calculated using the mean measure of divergence and Mahalanobis D(2) statistics for discrete traits; the most important traits in generating this intersample variation are identified with correspondence analysis. Assuming that the samples are representative of the populations from which they derive, and that phenetic similarity provides an estimate of genetic relatedness, these affinities are suggestive of overall population continuity. That is, other than a few outliers exhibiting extreme frequencies of nine influential traits, the dental samples appear to be largely homogenous and can be characterized as having morphologically simple, mass-reduced teeth. These findings are contrasted with those resulting from previous skeletal and other studies, and are used to appraise the viability of five Egyptian peopling scenarios. Specifically, affinities among the 15 time-successive samples suggest that: 1) there may be a connection between Neolithic and subsequent predynastic Egyptians, 2) predynastic Badarian and Naqada peoples may be closely related, 3) the dynastic period is likely an indigenous continuation of the Naqada culture, 4) there is support for overall biological uniformity through the dynastic period, and 5) this uniformity may continue into postdynastic times.


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