Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Particles of crystalline quartz wear away teeth: Study questions informative value of dental microwear for dietary habits of extinct species

Surface of a tooth, with two large scratches (dark blue lines) that have been caused by quartz particles.
© Peter Lucas, Kuwait University
Surface of a tooth, with two large scratches (dark blue lines) that have been caused by quartz particles.

© Peter Lucas, Kuwait University

Abstract:
Dental microwear, the pattern of tiny marks on worn tooth surfaces, is an important basis for understanding the diets of fossil mammals, including those of our own lineage. Now nanoscale research by an international multidisciplinary group that included members of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig has unraveled some of its causes. It turns out that quartz dust is the major culprit in wearing away tooth enamel. Silica phytoliths, particles produced by plants, just rub enamel, and thus have a minor effect on its surface. The results suggest that scientists will have to revise what microwear can tell us about diets, and suggest that environmental factors like droughts and dust storms may have had a large effect on the longevity of teeth. In particular, East African hominins may have suffered during dust storms, particularly from particles carried in by seasonal winds from the Arabian peninsula.

Particles of crystalline quartz wear away teeth: Study questions informative value of dental microwear for dietary habits of extinct species

Munich, Germany | Posted on January 9th, 2013

New research published by the scientists in Leipzig suggests that the main cause of the physical wear of mammalian teeth is the extremely hard particles of crystalline quartz in soils in many parts of the world. To show this, single particles were mounted on flat-tipped titanium rods and slid over flat tooth enamel surfaces at known forces. Quartz particles could remove pieces of tooth enamel at extremely low forces, meaning that even during a single bite, these particles could abrade much of the surface of the tooth if they are present in numbers.

In contrast, fossilized plant remains, so-called phytoliths, indented the enamel under the same conditions, but without tissue removal. The effect of the considerably softer phytoliths is similar to that of a fingernail pressed against a softwood desk. This kind of mark, called a rubbing mark, is visible but purely cosmetic.

The Max Planck Institute's Amanda Henry provided the phytoliths for the study, and assisted in the interpretation. "This study suggests that phytoliths do affect teeth, but in a different manner than we previously thought," she says. A new theory of wear, developed by collaborator Tony Atkins from Reading in the UK, suggests exactly what geometrical and material conditions are required for abrasive versus rubbing contacts. "People have not realized the vital importance of factoring fracture toughness into wear analyses" says Prof. Atkins. Study leader and Kuwait University researcher Peter Lucas says "we think that we've gone a lot further with the analysis of microwear than previous investigations because we realized that to uncover the mechanisms that cause it, you need to go one level smaller - to nanoscale. It is only then that the difference between relatively innocuous rubbing contacts and those that remove tooth tissues becomes clear." The team could distinguish between marks made by quartz dust, plant phytoliths, and also by enamel chips rubbing against larger pieces of enamel.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Dr. Amanda Henry

49-341-355-0381

Copyright © Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Superconductor could be realized in a broken Lorenz invariant theory July 7th, 2015

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D July 7th, 2015

Crystal structure and magnetism -- new insight into the fundamentals of solid state physics: HZB team decodes relationship between magnetic interactions and the distortions in crystal structure within a geometrically 'frustrated' spinel system July 7th, 2015

Down to the quantum dot: Jülich researchers develop ultrahigh-resolution 3-D microscopy technique for electric fields July 7th, 2015

Discoveries

Superconductor could be realized in a broken Lorenz invariant theory July 7th, 2015

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D July 7th, 2015

Crystal structure and magnetism -- new insight into the fundamentals of solid state physics: HZB team decodes relationship between magnetic interactions and the distortions in crystal structure within a geometrically 'frustrated' spinel system July 7th, 2015

Down to the quantum dot: Jülich researchers develop ultrahigh-resolution 3-D microscopy technique for electric fields July 7th, 2015

Announcements

Superconductor could be realized in a broken Lorenz invariant theory July 7th, 2015

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D July 7th, 2015

Crystal structure and magnetism -- new insight into the fundamentals of solid state physics: HZB team decodes relationship between magnetic interactions and the distortions in crystal structure within a geometrically 'frustrated' spinel system July 7th, 2015

Down to the quantum dot: Jülich researchers develop ultrahigh-resolution 3-D microscopy technique for electric fields July 7th, 2015

Research partnerships

Superconductor could be realized in a broken Lorenz invariant theory July 7th, 2015

Fundamental observation of spin-controlled electrical conduction in metals: Ultrafast terahertz spectroscopy yields direct insight into the building block of modern magnetic memories July 6th, 2015

Surfing a wake of light: Researchers observe and control light wakes for the first time July 6th, 2015

Tel Aviv/Tsinghua University project uses crowd computing to improve water filtration: The research, a product of the new TAU-Tsinghua XIN Center, was conducted by 150,000 volunteers at IBM's World Community Grid July 6th, 2015

Dental

Strong teeth: Nanostructures under stress make teeth crack resistant June 10th, 2015

Deben reports on the research of Dr Sunita Ho from UCSF using a CCT500 tensile stage to study the behaviour of dental materials April 14th, 2015

A novel way to apply drugs to dental plaque Nanoparticles release drugs to reduce tooth decay April 1st, 2015

Graphene reduces wear of alumina ceramic March 26th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project