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Neanderthals, trees and dental calculus: new evidence from El Sidrón

  • Anita Radini (a1), Stephen Buckley (a1), Antonio Rosas (a2), Almudena Estalrrich (a2), Marco de la Rasilla (a3) and Karen Hardy (a4)...
Abstract
Abstract

Analysis of dental calculus is increasingly important in archaeology, although the focus has hitherto been on dietary reconstruction. Non-edible material has, however, recently been extracted from the dental calculus of a Neanderthal population from the 49 000-year-old site of El Sidrón, Spain, in the form of fibre and chemical compounds that indicate conifer wood. Associated dental wear confirms that the teeth were being used for non-dietary activities. These results highlight the importance of dental calculus as a source of wider biographical information, and demonstrate the need to include associated data within research, in particular tooth wear, to maximise this valuable resource.

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