The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Linear enamel hypoplasias as stress indicators to interpret the effects of urbanization in the Iberian Peninsula


Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University

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Linear enamel hypoplasias (LEH) have frequently been used to infer general health conditions. This study documents LEH presence to infer and compare the quality of life between temporally similar rural and urban populations from late 19th – early 20th century Portuguese. Due to the effects of urbanization an increase in LEH is expected in the urban sample.

Data was collected from the Coimbra identified collection and the new Lisbon collection. This data is compared to the Oloriz collection in Spain. Measurements of hypoplasias were taken to calculate percentage of enamel affected. Craniometric data from each population was also utilized to calculate Fst values to establish genetic affiliation.

Fst values suggest a close relationship with the expected variation between the Lisbon and Coimbra collections (Fst=0.167). However, the Lisbon and Oloriz collection exhibited the closest relationship (Fst=0.010) of all three samples. Paired t-tests were performed to compare the LEH frequencies and the percentage of enamel affected. The frequency comparison (p-value = 0.256) suggests there is no significant difference between the groups. However, the sample comparison using percentage of enamel affected (p-value = 0.016) indicates there is a significant difference between the two populations. These results suggest that using overall percentage enamel affected may be a more sensitive parameter than frequency alone.

The methods employed in this study as well as the use of identified collections can detect more sensitive parameters to be used in LEH studies. Also, it can contribute to our understanding of European dynamics during this time period.

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