The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

A New Method for Assessing Dietary Differences Using Interproximal Tooth Wear Analysis


Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri

Saturday All day, Park Concourse Add to calendar

Interproximal tooth wear analysis can yield important information about dietary differences that is obscured in occlusal wear analysis, but earlier studies using interproximal wear to compare diets failed to take into account the overall size and shape of the wear facet, considering only facet length. In this study, dietary differences between two temporally and geographically similar skeletal populations were analyzed using a new method that better describes the size and shape of the wear facets. Length, height, area, and perimeter measurements of the facets (P1 distal, M1 mesial and distal, M2 mesial) were obtained from individuals using digital microscopy, and compared to each other and between the two populations.

Statistical analyses of this method suggest it is only necessary to obtain facet area and perimeter measurements, which are obtained simultaneously, thus reducing data collection time while most accurately describing overall facet size. As expected, all measurements are highly correlated (r = 0.65-0.989.) Principle components analysis shows that a single component explains greater than 87% of the variance in all measurements for all teeth and that area and perimeter loadings are strongest (0.973-0.990.) Discriminant function analysis confirms that area and perimeter measurements are most useful for classifying individuals into appropriate groups. Intra-observer error analyses produce high reliability scores and low technical error of measurement values indicating that the method is repeatable and reliable. Application of the method reveals significant differences in interproximal wear facet size between the two populations providing additional evidence for dietary differences.

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