New Wisdom on Ancient Skeleton's Teeth (Chicago's Field Museum)





She's not a girl but is now a woman. No, we're not talking about Britney Spears, but the Magdalenian Girl, the skeleton of an early modern human housed at the Field Museum in Chicago since 1926.

For years, these bones dating from 13,000 to 15,000 years ago were thought to be from a girl because her wisdom teeth had not yet erupted, something that typically should happen between the ages of 18 and 22. But new analyses provide evidence that she was in fact a 25- to 35-year-old woman at the time of death.


And the Magdalenian Girl's impacted wisdom teeth, which had failed to emerge at the normal time, provide new clues about the dietary changes of humans.


Because the coarse diet of early humans required a lot of chewing, there was more growth stimulation of the jawbone and more room for wisdom teeth to emerge. But when they started cooking their food and making it softer, the wisdom teeth had more trouble surfacing.



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