Original paper

Dental-macrowear and diet of Tigara foragers from Point Hope, northern Alaska

Górka, Katarzyna; Romero, Alejandro; Pérez-Pérez, Alejandro

Anthropologischer Anzeiger Volume 73 No. 3 (2016), p. 257 - 264

published: Sep 1, 2016

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Ethnographic studies indicate that Eskimo foragers are characterized by well-defined sexual division of labor and extensive use of anterior teeth as a tool, resulting in higher degrees of wear. However, little is known about the intra- population variation in molar-macrowear rates and dietary implications. Here, percentages of dentin exposure (PDE) were recorded on first mandibular molars among Tigara foragers from Point Hope (Alaska) and attempt to correlate age and sex variation in wear patterns. We found that no overall sex-related differences in PDE exist and suggest that molars did not take a part in para-masticatory or cultural practices. Strong correlation with increasing age was found as expected but males wore their teeth at higher rates than females related to masticatory demands during growth. Our findings suggest that individual variation in molar-macrowear must be attributed to biomechanics of chewing and cultural behavior rather than sexual variation in food acquisition.