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  Origins of equine dentistry

Taylor, W. T. T., Bayarsaikhan, J., Tuvshinjargal, T., Bender, S., Tromp, M., Clark, J., et al. (2018). Origins of equine dentistry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(29), E6707-E6715. doi:10.1073/pnas.1721189115.

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Taylor, William Timothy Treal1, Author              
Bayarsaikhan, Jamsranjav, Author
Tuvshinjargal, Tumurbaatar, Author
Bender, Scott, Author
Tromp, Monica1, Author              
Clark, Julia, Author
Lowry, K. Bryce, Author
Houle, Jean-Luc, Author
Staszewski, Dimitri, Author
Whitworth, Jocelyn, Author
Fitzhugh, William, Author
Boivin, Nicole L.1, Author              
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              


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 Abstract: The domestication of horses and adoption of horse riding were critical processes that culminated in the emergence of mounted warriors and nomadic empires that shaped world history. The constraints of horse biology and riding equipment meant that equine veterinary care, particularly of teeth, was a core component of the success of the human–}horse relationship. We report the earliest evidence of equine dentistry, from the Mongolian Steppe, at 1150 BCE. Key shifts in equine dentistry practice through time can be linked first to the emergence of horseback riding and later to the use of metal bits that enabled better control of horses. The maintenance of horse health through dentistry underwrote the key role of horses in cultures and economies around the world.From the American West to the steppes of Eurasia, the domestic horse transformed human societies, providing rapid transport, communication, and military power, and serving as an important subsistence animal. Because of the importance of oral equipment for horse riding, dentistry is an essential component of modern horse care. In the open grasslands of northeast Asia, horses remain the primary form of transport for many herders. Although free-range grazing on gritty forage mitigates many equine dental issues, contemporary Mongolian horsemen nonetheless practice some forms of dentistry, including the removal of problematic deciduous teeth and the vestigial first premolar ({“}wolf tooth{”). Here, we present archaezoological data from equine skeletal remains spanning the past 3,200 y, indicating that nomadic dental practices have great antiquity. Anthropogenic modifications to malerupted deciduous central incisors in young horses from the Late Bronze Age demonstrate their attempted removal, coinciding with the local innovation or adoption of horseback riding and the florescence of Mongolian pastoral society. Horse specimens from this period show no evidence of first premolar removal, which we first identify in specimens dating to ca. 750 BCE. The onset of premolar extraction parallels the archaeological appearance of jointed bronze and iron bits, suggesting that this technological shift prompted innovations in dentistry that improved horse health and horse control. These discoveries provide the earliest directly dated evidence for veterinary dentistry, and suggest that innovations in equine care by nomadic peoples ca. 1150 BCE enabled the use of horses for increasingly sophisticated mounted riding and warfare.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-07-022018-06-27
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 9
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1721189115
Other: shh1019
 Degree: -



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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  Other : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA
  Other : Proc. Acad. Sci. USA
  Other : Proc. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
  Abbreviation : PNAS
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Washington, D.C. : National Academy of Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 115 (29) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: E6707 - E6715 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925427230