Publications by authors named "Elisabeth Cuesta-Torralvo"

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Age-related tooth wear in African rainforest hunter-gatherers.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2019 12 10;170(4):622-628. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

Departament de Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciencies Ambientals, Secció Zoologia i Antropologia Biològica, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Objectives: Central African small-scale foragers subsist primarily on hunting game activities and wild plant-food gathering. Starch-rich tubers are underground storage organs (USOs) and staple food resources in savanna and tropical rainforests. However, little is known about the effect of USO consumption on tooth wear development in living hunter-gatherers. We report age- and sex-dependent tooth wear rates in forest-dwelling Baka Pygmies with well-documented wild-yam-tuber-based diet to explore the long-term impact of USO mechanical hardness and abrasiveness on the wearing down of the teeth.

Materials And Methods: Percentages of dentine exposure (PDEs) of permanent left mandibular first molars (M ) were recorded using in vivo high-resolution replicas of Baka individuals (aged 8-33 years), inhabiting Le Bosquet district in Cameroon (Western Africa). Regression and covariance analyses were used to test the effect of individual aging by sex on PDE rates.

Results: We found a strong increase of PDE by age among Baka individuals. No evidence of sexual dimorphism in wear patterns suggests similar sex-related dietary and masticatory demands during growth. Overall, greatest dentine exposure values ≈4% denote unexpected slow wear down rates for foraging diets relying on USO consumption.

Discussion: The low molar wear rates with age found in Baka Pygmies contrast with extensive wear rates in savanna-dwelling foragers, reflecting differences in thermal processing techniques affecting fracture toughness and grittiness of mechanically challenging foods. Our findings reveal that culture-specific dietary proclivities influence tooth wear among foraging behaviors with important implications in hominin dietary versatility and abrasive stress on chewing surfaces.
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December 2019