Carabelli's trait revisited: An examination of mesiolingual features at the enamel-dentine junction and enamel surface of Pan and Homo sapiens upper molars

Alejandra Ortiz, Matthew M. Skinner, Shara Bailey, Jean Jacques Hublin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Carabelli's trait is a morphological feature that frequently occurs on the mesiolingual aspect of Homo sapiens upper molars. Similar structures also referred to as Carabelli's trait have been reported in apes and fossil hominins. However, the morphological development and homology of these mesiolingual structures among hominoids are poorly understood. In this study, we employ micro-computed tomography to image the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) and outer enamel surface (OES) of Pan (n = 48) and H. sapiens (n = 52) upper molars. We investigate the developmental origin of mesiolingual features in these taxa and establish the relative contribution of the EDJ and enamel cap to feature expression. Results demonstrate that mesiolingual features of H. sapiens molars develop at the EDJ and are similarly expressed at the OES. Morphological variation at both surfaces in this taxon can satisfactorily be assessed using standards for Carabelli's trait developed by the Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (ASUDAS). Relative to H. sapiens, Pan has an even greater degree of correspondence in feature expression between the EDJ and OES. Morphological manifestations in Pan molars are not necessarily limited to the protocone and are best characterized by a lingual cingulum that cannot be captured by the ASUDAS. Cusp-like structures, similar to those seen in marked Carabelli's trait expressions in H. sapiens, were not found in Pan. This study provides a foundation for further analyses on the evolutionary history of mesiolingual dental traits within the hominoid lineage. It also highlights the wealth of morphological data that can be obtained at the EDJ for understanding tooth development and for characterizing tooth crown variation in worn fossil teeth.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)586-596
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Human Evolution
    Volume63
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2012

    Fingerprint

    Pan (Pongidae)
    tooth enamel
    enamel
    teeth
    examination
    anthropology
    tooth
    Hominidae
    history
    fossil
    Homo sapiens
    Dentin
    Homo Sapiens
    Enamel
    fossils
    micro-computed tomography
    homology
    tomography
    Pongidae
    tongue

    Keywords

    • Accessory cusp
    • ASUDAS
    • Discrete dental traits
    • Lingual cingulum
    • Micro-computed tomography

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Education
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

    Cite this

    Carabelli's trait revisited : An examination of mesiolingual features at the enamel-dentine junction and enamel surface of Pan and Homo sapiens upper molars. / Ortiz, Alejandra; Skinner, Matthew M.; Bailey, Shara; Hublin, Jean Jacques.

    In: Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 63, No. 4, 2012, p. 586-596.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Ortiz, Alejandra ; Skinner, Matthew M. ; Bailey, Shara ; Hublin, Jean Jacques. / Carabelli's trait revisited : An examination of mesiolingual features at the enamel-dentine junction and enamel surface of Pan and Homo sapiens upper molars. In: Journal of Human Evolution. 2012 ; Vol. 63, No. 4. pp. 586-596.
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