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What Does Dental Calculus Reveal About the Human Evolution?


Warinner,  Christina
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Warinner, C. (2016). What Does Dental Calculus Reveal About the Human Evolution? doi:10.21036/LTPUB10321.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-48E9-D
Dental calculus, a calcified form of tooth plaque, can give detailed information about the diets, diseases and lifestyles of past humans. CHRISTINA WARINNER discusses how she gains new knowledge about the way human beings used to live, what they ate, and how their microbiome has evolved. Dental calculus is the richest known source of ancient DNA in the archaeological record, and it is the only part of the body that fossilizes during life. In this video, she explains how emerging technologies in genomics and proteomics are contributing to groundbreaking discoveries about past human health and diet. By combining genetic and protein data, she describes how ancient infections leave behind sufficient traces to reconstruct entire pathogen genomes, as well as a detailed snapshot of host immune response. She explains how studies of ancient dental calculus will help us understand how our microbiome has evolved and why understanding the human ancestral microbiome may shed light on current chronic health problems.