Dental macrowear analysis of the Neanderthal mandible from Regourdou (Dordogne, Southwestern France)

Luca Fiorenza, Stefano Benazzi, Ottmar Kullmer, Arnaud Mazurier, Roberto Macchiarelli

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Tooth wear is one of the most studied features in archaeology and anthropology for reconstructing diet, food processing and cultural habits of ancient populations and extinct human fossils. In particular, attritional areas (visible to the naked eye, and characterised by polished surfaces with well-delineated borders) are created by the contact of opposing dental arches during mastication, and they can be extremely useful to detect information about diet and non-masticatory behaviours. The aims of this study is analyse the occlusal wear pattern of the complete Neanderthal mandible of Regourdou 1 (Dordogne, Southern France), using a sophisticated and well-established method known as Occlusal Fingerprint Analysis. This new approach is based on the use of three-dimensional digital models of teeth to quantify structural parameters of wear facets, such as facet area, inclination and orientation. The frontal teeth of Regourdou 1 show a more advanced degree of wear than the postcanine dentition, with large dentine exposure and rounded labial wear, a typical pattern found in many Neanderthal specimens. The posterior dentition is characterised by an asymmetric wear pattern, with the right side significantly more worn the left half. In contrast, the left lower P3 shows a more advanced degree of wear than the right premolar, with a mesio-distally elongated dentine exposure and semicircular enamel facets. The analysis of this unique pattern excludes the possibility that this type of wear is created by a normal chewing behaviour, but it rather indicates tooth-tool uses for daily task activities for food processing and/or manufacturing of objects.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe Australasian Society for Human Biology - Ballarat, Australia
Duration: 4 Dec 20176 Dec 2017


ConferenceThe Australasian Society for Human Biology
Internet address

Cite this