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Longstanding dental pathology in Neandertals from El Sidrón (Asturias, Spain) with a probable familial basis

AuthorsDean, M. C.; Rosas, Antonio ; Estalrrich, Almudena ; García-Tabernero, Antonio ; Huguet, Rosa ; Lalueza-Fox, Carles ; Bastir, Markus ; Rasilla, Marco de la
Homo neanderthalensis
Canine impaction
Dentigerous cyst
Deciduous canine
Western Europe
Issue DateJun-2013
CitationJournal of Human Evolution 64(6): 678-686 (2013)
AbstractTwo Neandertal specimens from El Sidrón, northern Spain, show evidence of retained left mandibular deciduous canines. These individuals share the same mitochondrial (mtDNA) haplotype, indicating they are maternally related and suggesting a potential heritable basis for these dental anomalies. Radiographs and medical CT scans provide evidence of further, more extensive dental pathology in one of these specimens. An anomalous deciduous canine crown morphology that developed before birth subsequently suffered a fracture of the crown exposing the pulp sometime after eruption into functional occlusion. This led to death of the tooth, periapical granuloma formation and arrested deciduous canine root growth at an estimated age of 2.5 years. At some point the underlying permanent canine tooth became horizontally displaced and came to lie low in the trabecular bone of the mandibular corpus. A dentigerous cyst then developed around the crown. Anterior growth displacement of the mandible continued around the stationary permanent canine, leaving it posteriorly positioned in the mandibular corpus by the end of the growth period beneath the third permanent molar roots, which, in turn, suggests a largely horizontal growth vector. Subsequent longstanding repeated infections of the expanding cyst cavity are evidenced by bouts of bone deposition and resorption of the boundary walls of the cyst cavity. This resulted in the establishment of two permanent bony drainage sinuses, one through the buccal plate of the alveolar bone anteriorly, immediately beneath the infected deciduous canine root, and the other through the buccal plate anterior to the mesial root of the first permanent molar. It is probable that this complicated temporal sequence of dental pathologies had an initial heritable trigger that progressed in an unusually complex way in one of these individuals. During life, this individual may have been largely unaware of this ongoing pathology. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.03.004
Identifiersissn: 0047-2484
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