Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (03): 398-406.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2018.0028

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Effects of two separation methods of crown and root on enamel thickness measurements

PAN Lei1,2,3()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, CAS, Beijing 100044, China
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044,China
    3. Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China
  • Received:2017-05-05 Revised:2018-03-27 Online:2019-08-15 Published:2020-09-10


In computer-aided dental anthropology it is sometimes a regular process to separate the crown from the roots. In order to assess the methodological impact of sectioning crown and roots for the computation of enamel thickness, we compared two digital approaches(separating the crown from the root using the cervical line or a basal plane) for the 3D analysis of enamel thickness on a total number of 82 hominin lower postcanine teeth, including South African fossil hominins(n=26), Neanderthals(n=22), and modern humans(n=34). According to paired t-test, no significant difference is observed in the enamel thickness values between two methods, but subsequent inter-taxa comparisons reveal different results in average enamel thickness(AET) in premolars. Separation based on a basal plane is more operator-dependent, not practical to sinuous cervical margin and might mask between-group distinctions. Besides providing a set of raw data for further investigation, this study reports thinner premolar RET in Neanderthals compared with modern H. sapiens and therefore support the notion that Neanderthal has generally thinner relative enamel. Our results show that, for studies aimed at discriminating among different species, using the cervical margin to isolate the crown from the root is a practical option as it considers the anatomical nature of tooth, especially for those specimens(such as anterior dentition, or molars of Pan and Gorilla) with steep cervical line.

Key words: Taxonomic discrimination, Enamel thickness, Dental anthropology, 3D virtual measurements, Tooth crown, Tooth root

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