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An inconstant biorhythm: the changing pace of Retzius periodicity in human permanent teeth

McFarlane, Gina, Guatelli-Steinberg, Debbie, Loch, Carolina, White, Sophie, Bayle, Priscilla, Floyd, Bruce, Pitfield, Rosie, Mahoney, Patrick (2021) An inconstant biorhythm: the changing pace of Retzius periodicity in human permanent teeth. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, . ISSN 0002-9483. (doi:10.1002/ajpa.24206) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:84723)

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Abstract

Objectives: Human tooth enamel retains evidence of growth in the form of Retzius lines. The number of daily growth increments between the regularly occurring lines defines their repeat interval, or periodicity. Retzius periodicity is often incorporated into enamel formation times, age-at-death reconstructions, or used to provide a basis from which to explore an underlying biorhythm. Biological anthropologists typically assume that RP remains constant within an individual and does not vary along the tooth-row. Here, we test that assumption.

Materials and methods: RP was calculated from n = 223 thin sections of human permanent teeth from individuals of British and southern African origin. Forty individuals provided multiple teeth (n = 102 teeth) and a further 121 individuals each provided a single tooth. Results: We report first evidence that RP of permanent teeth does not always remain constant within an individual. Of those individuals that provided multiple teeth, 42% (n = 17/40) demonstrated a decrease in RP along the tooth row, with most shifting by two or more days (n = 11). Across the entire sample, mean RP of anterior teeth was significantly higher than molars. Mean premolar RP tended to be intermediate between anterior teeth and molars.Discussion: Our data do not support the assumption that RP invariably remains constant within the permanent teeth of an individual. Transferring RP from molars to incisors within an individual can result in a miscalculation of formation time and age-at-death by up to one year. Implications for biological anthropologists and the source of the underlying long period biorhythm are discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ajpa.24206
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Patrick Mahoney
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2020 18:02 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2021 22:09 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/84723 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
McFarlane, Gina: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7441-2281
Mahoney, Patrick: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2715-3096
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