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Tooth Morphology!

Tooth morphology is one of the ways an archaeologist studies a person or animals diet. They are able to determine the source where a person or animal has originated from by what they eat. One way to do this is to study the isotopes in the excavated teeth recovered from a site. They examine things like dental records to identify a person, dental caries(cavities), what species and family the teeth derive from.

They do this by using a cladistic classification system to distincly classify the teeth into first a general catagory such as analogous structures.The first and last appearance in the fossil record. They further break the identification into family species and so on by using a family tree to break all the identification into catagories unique to a species. This system used was created by Charles Linneaus.

Some of the most impressive finds we have excavated during the field school have been of a cervidae. These teeth belong to a local prehistoric deer present in Thailand during the Pleistocene era. We have also uncovered many primate teeth. This is interesting because it can help us to examine what was in humans diets during occupation at a site, their age and their origin. Studying  biological archaeology is all that it needed in order to study tooth morphology.


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