Dental microwear texture analysis and diet in the Dmanisi hominins.
Reconstructions of foraging behavior and diet are central to our understanding of fossil hominin ecology and evolution. Current hypotheses for the evolution of the genus Homo invoke a change in foraging behavior to include higher quality foods. Recent microwear texture analyses of fossil hominin teeth have suggested that the evolution of Homo erectus may have been marked by a transition to a more variable diet. In this study, we used microwear texture analysis to examine the occlusal surface of 2 molars from Dmanisi, a 1.8 million year old fossil hominin site in the Republic of Georgia. The Dmanisi molars were characterized by a moderate degree of surface complexity (Asfc), low textural fill volume (Tfv), and a relatively low scale of maximum complexity (Smc), similar to specimens of early African H. erectus. While caution must be used in drawing conclusions from this small sample (n = 2), these results are consistent with continuity in diet as H. erectus expanded into Eurasia.
Pontzer, H; Scott, JR; Lordkipanidze, D; Ungar, PS
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