A new study on ancient humans fossils unveils how a substance that fills the roots of teeth might be an essential part of demonstrating a long-held theory. The evolutionary origins of long-term child-rearing can be examined. Also, signs of stressful life events in a person’s life can be spotted through analyzing permanent marks in tissue, according to scientists.
It seems that a significant part of our organism serves as a faithful archive for our whole lives. Such a thing includes events as menopause, birth, and even imprisonment. It also resembles the way trees age and the process of counting its annual rings. In teeth, too, the way tissue is exposed at the light can offer insights into someone’s past.
Stressful Events Leave Signs On The Teeth, Ancient Human Fossils Revealed
A team of scientists succeeded in examining 47 teeth from 15 deceased individuals, taking lots of samples of teeth only from 9. Paola Cerrito from the New York University is the co-author of the study. She and her colleagues search for any signs of cementum, a substance that grows permanently over the roof of teeth throughout people’s lifespan.
They utilized something called polarized light microscopy to examine the teeth. Cerrito and her team discovered that various changes resurfaced to align with the timing of some known events in the life of the individuals. They also consider the thickness of the cementum and the age of death.
Cerrito stated: “Sadly, in several individuals that had been imprisoned before death, we found evidence of that event – telling us just how physiologically stressful that must have been for them.”
Moreover, the researchers determined the “sensitivity” of cementum as a recording formation. Only the longterm stressful events are detectable. As for the “grandmother hypothesis” – the concept that post-menopausal women live on to support their children survive and reproduce, the recent discovery could help, according to Cerrito.