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

A case of nasal teeth from the Middle Horizon Tiwanaku site of Chen Chen M1 in the Moquegua Valley, Peru


School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University

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Ectopic eruption of teeth can occur in various parts of the body including the nasal cavity. Nasal teeth are rare in clinical settings and are reported less frequently for human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts. Ectopic teeth presenting in the nasal cavity can be permanent, deciduous, or supernumerary. In clinical settings nasal teeth are associated with increased morbidity and symptoms including posterior nasal dripping, mild facial pain, headache, and fever. This poster presents one of the few cases of nasal teeth documented in archaeological human remains in a specimen from the Middle Horizon (AD 500-1000) Tiwanaku site of Chen Chen M1, located in the Moquegua Valley of southwestern Peru.

Specimen M1-0267 exhibited bilateral elevated concrescences on the floor of the nasal cavity. After removal of residual matrix covering the area, enamel was visible indicating the presence of partially erupted nasal teeth. Radiographs were obtained to aid identification of the tooth type(s). No clear osteological evidence of associated symptoms was detected, however much of the anterior maxillary dentition was lost antemortem. Dental and skeletal indicators of sex and age at death suggest the individual was male and survived to middle adulthood. This may indicate the nasal teeth were asymptomatic during life or that any associated symptoms did not affect the skeletal or dental hard tissues. This poster demonstrates the importance of thorough curation and examination of archaeological human skeletal remains for detecting rare morphological variations of clinical, biological, and anthropological interest.

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