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Hunter-gatherer diet caused tooth decay
Past Horizons ^ | Tuesday, January 7, 2014 | Natural History Museum

Posted on 01/12/2014 3:03:25 PM PST by SunkenCiv

...The results published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) also suggest tooth decay was more prevalent in earlier societies than previously estimated. The results also suggest that the hunter-gatherer society studied may have developed a more sedentary lifestyle than previously thought, relying on nut harvesting.

Dental disease was thought to have originated with the introduction of farming and changes in food processing around 10,000 years ago. A greater reliance on cultivated plant foods, rich in fermentable carbohydrates, resulted in rotting teeth.

High level of decay
Now, the analysis of 52 adult dentitions from hunter-gatherer skeletons found in a cave in Taforalt, Morocco dating from between 15,000 and 13,700 years ago suggests people suffered tooth decay in much earlier times. Evidence of decay was found in more than half of the teeth that were intact, with only three skeletons showing no sign of cavities...

Archaeological excavations at the site in Taforalt, including elaborate human burial areas, showed evidence of methodical harvesting and processing of wild foods, including sweet acorns, pine nuts and land snails. Museum human origins expert Dr Louise Humphrey said a staple diet of edible acorns could have been the cause of the dental disease...
Pulling teeth
Dr Humphrey also speculated that these Pleistocene hunter-gatherers may have pulled out their own teeth. Skeletons at Taforalt reveal that most people practiced tooth evulsion, whereby one or two healthy incisors were deliberately removed in late childhood or early adulthood. This would have been for cultural reasons, such as indicating group affiliation or as a rite of passage. The same skills could have been used to extract diseased teeth and relieve dental pain.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: History; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: agriculture; ancientautopsies; animalhusbandry; autopsies; dentistry; diet; dietandcuisine; godsgravesglyphs; huntergatherers; morocco; pleistocene; taforalt
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To: JimSEA; SunkenCiv; blam; All

Does anyone know how far back dates and figs were available for the gatherers? Also, fruit and berries?

21 posted on 01/12/2014 11:24:31 PM PST by gleeaikin
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To: gleeaikin

Off the top of my head, pistachios and a type of fig were eaten in the Middle East.

22 posted on 01/12/2014 11:30:02 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: gleeaikin; JimSEA; SunkenCiv
Of Interest:

Judean Date Palm

The Judean Date Palm at Kibbutz Ketura, nicknamed Methuselah.

Prized for its beauty, shade, and medicinal properties, the cultivar was thought to have become extinct circa 150 CE. However, in 2005, a preserved 2,000-year-old seed sprouted.[1] It is the oldest verified human-assisted germination of a seed (the claim in 2012 of a 32,000-year-old arctic flower involved fruit tissue rather than a seed).[2] The palm, named Methuselah (not to be confused with a bristlecone pine tree of the same name), was about 1.5 m (5 ft) tall in June 2008.[3]As of November 2011, it is reported at 2.5m height, and transplanted from pot to earth.[4]

23 posted on 01/15/2014 10:14:45 AM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

I thought that was global warming.

24 posted on 01/15/2014 10:15:41 AM PST by sport
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