• Image analysis in the morphological and morphometric study of teeth
  • Benazzi, Stefano <1977>


  • BIO/08 Antropologia


  • The subject of this doctoral dissertation concerns the definition of a new methodology for the morphological and morphometric study of fossilized human teeth, and therefore strives to provide a contribution to the reconstruction of human evolutionary history that proposes to extend to the different species of hominid fossils. Standardized investigative methodologies are lacking both regarding the orientation of teeth subject to study and in the analysis that can be carried out on these teeth once they are oriented. The opportunity to standardize a primary analysis methodology is furnished by the study of certain early Neanderthal and preneanderthal molars recovered in two caves in southern Italy [Grotta Taddeo (Taddeo Cave) and Grotta del Poggio (Poggio Cave), near Marina di Camerata, Campania]. To these we can add other molars of Neanderthal and modern man of the upper Paleolithic era, specifically scanned in the paleoanthropology laboratory of the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA), in order to increase the paleoanthropological sample data and thereby make the final results of the analyses more significant. The new analysis methodology is rendered as follows: 1. Standardization of an orientation system for primary molars (superior and inferior), starting from a scan of a sample of 30 molars belonging to modern man (15 M1 inferior and 15 M1 superior), the definition of landmarks, the comparison of various systems and the choice of a system of orientation for each of the two dental typologies. 2. The definition of an analysis procedure that considers only the first 4 millimeters of the dental crown starting from the collar: 5 sections parallel to the plane according to which the tooth has been oriented are carried out, spaced 1 millimeter between them. The intention is to determine a method that allows for the differentiation of fossilized species even in the presence of worn teeth. 3. Results and Conclusions. The new approach to the study of teeth provides a considerable quantity of information that can better be evaluated by increasing the fossil sample data. It has been demonstrated to be a valid tool in evolutionary classification that has allowed (us) to differentiate the Neanderthal sample from that of modern man. In a particular sense the molars of Grotta Taddeo, which up until this point it has not been possible to determine with exactness their species of origin, through the present research they are classified as Neanderthal.


  • 2007-05-04


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Benazzi, Stefano (2007) Image analysis in the morphological and morphometric study of teeth, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biodiversità ed evoluzione , 19 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/326.