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Unformatted text preview: y. Wear from chewing accumulates at a steady pace over an
individual’s lifetime, so when the second molar emerges, the
first already has six years of wear on it, and when the third
emerges, the second has three years of wear on it.
Working backward, one can infer, for instance, that a first
molar with 15 years of wear on it belonged to a 21-year-old Neandertal, a second molar with 15 years of wear on it belonged to
a 27-year-old and a third molar with 15 years of wear on it belonged to a 30-year-old. (These estimates have an uncertainty of
plus or minus one year.) This wear-based seriation method for
determining age at death, adapted from a technique developed 46 Scientific American, August 2011 sad0811Casp3p.indd 46 6/21/11 5:43 PM findings
by dental researcher A.E.W. Miles in 1963,
works best on samples with large numbers of
juveniles, which Krapina has in abundance.
The method loses accuracy when applied to
the teeth of elderly individuals, whose tooth
Analyses of the fossilized teeth of hundreds of individuals spanning three
crowns can be too worn to evaluate reliably
million years indicate that living long enough to reach grandparenthood beand in some cases may even be totally eroded...
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