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Origins of Dental Crowding in the Florida Archaic

Title: The Origins of Dental Crowding in the Florida Archaic: An Anthropological Investigation of Malocclusions in Windover Pond (8BR246).
Name(s): Miyar, Kathryn O’Donnell, author
Schepartz, Lynne, professor directing dissertation
Slice, Dennis, university representative
Doran, Glen, committee member
Marrinan, Rochelle, committee member
Department of Anthropology, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Anterior dental crowding is a condition that is more prevalent in agricultural populations than foraging societies. Though the origin of dental crowding has been debated for years, earlier studies have tied the development of this malocclusion primarily to environmental factors with minimal genetic influence. The masticatory function hypothesis (Carlson and van Gerven 1977) and disuse theory (Price 1934) both describe craniofacial changes that relate to relaxed masticatory stress resulting from dietary shifts of hard-textured foods to preprocessed foods. These changes result in the underdevelopment of the maxillae and mandible, commonly leading to inadequate space in the jaws for genetically determined tooth dimensions. This dissertation investigates the origins of the high rate (47 percent) of dental crowding in the Early Archaic Floridian Windover population (8BR246). Windover exhibits an anomalously high dental crowding rate for a prehistoric hunter-gatherer population. To compare Windover's dental crowding rates to populations throughout the Florida Archaic, six comparative population samples were chosen based on their comparable subsistence practices to Windover (aquatic foraging) as well as temporal and special similarities to this site. It was possible to control for possible environmental factors that may have an impact on dental use and attrition by using groups that relied on similar subsistence strategies. This research includes a comprehensive investigation of dental crowding and its relationship to tooth size, arch size, dental wear and craniofacial measurements. To analyze genetic relatedness between the samples, I examined cranial and dental non-metric traits. The results of this study demonstrate that dental crowding development within Florida Archaic populations had different primary influences based on crowding severity. For instance, the mild/moderate crowding seen in Windover and the comparative samples is similar to rates recorded in other prehistoric foraging societies. Mild/moderate crowding in these populations might represent a normal occlusal variant and is not the product of a discrepancy between dental arch size and tooth width. Conversely, severe dental crowding at Windover is unique amongst hunter-gatherer societies (including Early and Middle Archaic groups from Florida) and appears to have a predominantly environmental etiology. Windover exhibits a much greater frequency of dental crowding (particularly severe dental crowding) than the comparative samples as well as distinctions such as rare genetic anomalies and unique dental wear patterns. It is possible that the environmental influence on severe dental crowding development is the result of cultural and sociological peculiarities of an isolated society. In particular, non-masticatory cultural practices (e.g., using teeth as tools) might alter craniofacial formation differently than is discussed in the disuse theory and masticatory function hypothesis. My findings at Windover pond contradict the assumption that hunter-gather societies have low levels of dental crowding. I argue that dental crowding development at Windover has a predominately environmental origin and is the product of mostly non-masticatory practices. Comparative analyses of other Archaic populations demonstrate that Windover, as a population, practiced exclusive cultural techniques that lead to hunter-gatherer attrition levels and agricultural-like malocclusions. On a broader scale, information from this study has the potential to advance our knowledge of dental crowding etiology and the relationship between the human dentition and environmental factors. Thus this project has implications for understanding the underlying development of modern human cranial and dental function.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-5840 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Anthropology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2012.
Date of Defense: February 29, 2012.
Keywords: Dental Crowding, Florida Archaic, Hunter-Gatherer, Malocclusion, Windover
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Lynne Schepartz, Professor Directing Dissertation; Dennis Slice, University Representative; Glen Doran, Committee Member; Rochelle Marrinan, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Anthropology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Miyar, K. O. ’D. (2012). The Origins of Dental Crowding in the Florida Archaic: An Anthropological Investigation of Malocclusions in Windover Pond (8BR246). Retrieved from