Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Investigation of ultrasound methods for the assessment of sex and age from human intact teeth
    (Dental Anthropology Association, 2005)
    Determining sex and age in human remains is necessary to achieve positive identification of individuals in forensic settings, and to provide data required for demographic analyses in archaeological samples. Due to their denser mineralization, teeth may be better preserved than other skeletal elements, which are often fragmentary and poorly preserved. This work is the first to investigate the use of ultrasound methods to accurately, objectively, and non-destructively assess sex and estimate age of human skeletal remains from intact teeth. An ultrasound imaging system using pulse-echo technique and nominal frequency (3.5 MHz) longitudinal waves was developed for application on teeth. Mechanical and acoustic properties of teeth were examined to explore their relationship with the interaction of ultrasound wave propagation.
  • Publication
    Unravelling biocultural population structure in 4th/3rd century BC Monterenzio Vecchio (Bologna, Italy) through a comparative analysis of strontium isotopes, non-metric dental evidence, and funerary practices.
    The 4th century BC marks the main entrance of Celtic populations in northern Italy. Their arrival has been suggested based on the presence of Celtic customs in Etruscan mortuary contexts, yet up to now few bioarchaeological data have been examined to support or reject the arrival of these newcomers. Here we use strontium isotopes, non-metric dental traits and funerary patterns to unravel the biocultural structure of the necropolis of Monterenzio Vecchio (Bologna, Italy). Subsamples of our total sample of 38 individuals were analyzed based on different criteria characterizing the following analyses: 1) strontium isotope analysis to investigate migratory patterns and provenance; 2) non-metric dental traits to establish biological relationships between Monterenzio Vecchio, 13 Italian Iron age necropolises and three continental and non-continental Celtic necropolises; 3) grave goods which were statistically explored to detect possible patterns of cultural variability. The strontium isotopes results indicate the presence of local and non-local individuals, with some revealing patterns of mobility. The dental morphology reveals an affinity between Monterenzio Vecchio and Iron Age Italian samples. However, when the Monterenzio Vecchio sample is separated by isotopic results into locals and non-locals, the latter share affinity with the sample of non- continental Celts from Yorkshire (UK). Moreover, systematic analyses demonstrate that ethnic background does not retain measurable impact on the distribution of funerary elements. Our results confirm the migration of Celtic populations in Monterenzio as archaeologically hypothesized on the basis of the grave goods, followed by a high degree of cultural admixture between exogenous and endogenous traits. This contribution shows that combining different methods offers a more comprehensive perspective for the exploration of biocultural processes in past and present populations.
      289Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    Genome-Wide DNA from Degraded Petrous Bones and the Assessment of Sex and Probable Geographic Origins of Forensic Cases
    The acquisition of biological information and assessment of the most probable geographic origin of unidentified individuals for obtaining positive identification is central in forensic sciences. Identification based on forensic DNA, however, varies greatly in relation to degradation of DNA. Our primary aim is to assess the applicability of a petrous bone sampling method in combination with Next Generation Sequencing to evaluate the quality and quantity of DNA in taphonomically degraded petrous bones from forensic and cemetery cases. A related aim is to analyse the genomic data to obtain the molecular sex of each individual, and their most probable geographic origin. Six of seven subjects were previously identified and used for comparison with the results. To analyse their probable geographic origin, samples were genotyped for the 627.719 SNP positions. Results show that the inner ear cochlear region of the petrous bone provides good percentages of endogenous DNA (14.61–66.89%), even in the case of burnt bodies. All comparisons between forensic records and genetic results agree (sex) and are compatible (geographic origin). The application of the proposed methodology may be a powerful tool for use in forensic scenarios, ranging from missing persons to unidentified migrants who perish when crossing borders.
      318Scopus© Citations 17
  • Publication
    3D enamel thickness in Neandertal and modern human permanent canines
    Enamel thickness figures prominently in studies of human evolution, particularly for taxonomy, phylogeny, and paleodietary reconstruction. Attention has focused on molar teeth, through the use of advanced imaging technologies and novel protocols. Despite the important results achieved thus far, further work is needed to investigate all tooth classes. We apply a recent approach developed for anterior teeth to investigate the 3D enamel thickness of Neandertal and modern human (MH) canines. In terms of crown size, the values obtained for both upper and lower unworn/slightly worn canines are significantly greater in Neandertals than in Upper Paleolithic and recent MH. The 3D relative enamel thickness (RET) is significantly lower in Neandertals than in MH. Moreover, differences in 3D RET values between the two groups appear to decrease in worn canines beginning from wear stage 3, suggesting that both the pattern and the stage of wear may have important effects on the 3D RET value. Nevertheless, the 3D average enamel thickness (AET) does not differ between the two groups. In both groups, 3D AET and 3D RET indices are greater in upper canines than in lower canines, and overall the enamel is thicker on the occlusal half of the labial aspect of the crown, particularly in MH. By contrast, the few early modern humans investigated show the highest volumes of enamel while for all other components of 3D enamel, thickness this group holds an intermediate position between Neandertals and recent MH. Overall, our study supports the general findings that Neandertals have relatively thinner enamel than MH (as also observed in molars), indicating that unworn/slightly worn canines can be successfully used to discriminate between the two groups. Further studies, however, are needed to understand whether these differences are functionally related or are the result of pleiotropic or genetic drift effects. Overall, our study supports the general findings that Neandertals have relatively thinner enamel than MH (as also observed in molars), indicating that unworn/slightly worn canines can be successfully used to discriminate between the two groups. Further studies, however, are needed to understand whether these differences are functionally related or are the result of pleiotropic or genetic drift effects. 
      351Scopus© Citations 21
  • Publication
    Enamel thickness in Asian human canines and premolars
    (The Anthropological Society of Nippon, 2010-05-01) ; ; ;
    Dental enamel thickness continues to feature prominently in anthropological studies of ape and human evolution, as well as studies of preventative oral care and treatment. Traditional studies of enamel thickness require physical sectioning of teeth for linear and scaled measurements. Recent applications of microtomographic imaging allow scientists to employ larger and more diverse samples, including global samples of recent humans as well as fossil hominin teeth. Unfortunately, little is known about the degree of enamel thickness variation among human populations, particularly across the dentition. This study employed microtomography to virtually image, section, and quantify the average enamel thickness of a sample of clinically extracted Indonesian canine and premolar teeth. This virtual sample was compared to physically sectioned African and European teeth. The results demonstrate that average enamel thickness is similar among human dentitions; no significant differences were detected within tooth positions, which is surprising given developmental differences between European and African canines and premolars. When populations were combined, differences were found in average enamel thickness between maxillary and mandibular premolars, and between canines and premolars within both dental arcades. This finding is potentially due to differences in premolar morphology and a trend of increasing enamel thickness distally throughout the dentition. The finding of limited population variation within tooth positions and significant variation between tooth positions is consistent with previous two-dimensional and three-dimensional studies of human molar enamel thickness. Average enamel thickness in canines and premolars does not differ between the sexes in our sample, although male teeth tend to have larger enamel and dentine cross-sectional areas, enamel–dentine junction lengths, and bi-cervical diameters. Males have significantly greater dentine area and enamel–dentine junction length than females for maxillary canines and premolars. The results of this study suggest that enamel thickness values in mixed-populations of humans are appropriate for comparisons with fossil hominins.
      368Scopus© Citations 36