Dental plaque used to examine ancient diets

Published on May 9th, 2012 | by Sevaan Franks

0
Untitled-19

Anthropologists are now examining ancient dental plaque to examine the diets of ancient people.

Scott obtained samples of dental calculus from 58 skeletons buried in the Cathedral of Santa Maria in northern Spain dating from the 11th to 19th centuries to conduct research on the diet of this ancient population. After his first methodology met with mixed results, he decided to send five samples of dental calculus to Poulson at the University‘s Stable Isotope Lab, in the off chance they might contain enough carbon and nitrogen to allow them to estimate stable isotope ratios.

“It’s chemistry and is pretty complex,” Scott explained. “But basically, since only protein has nitrogen, the more nitrogen that is present, the more animal products were consumed as part of the diet. Carbon provides information on the types of plants consumed.”

[Full story]

Story: Science Daily | Photo: G. Richard Scott, University of Nevada

Tags: ,



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • Follow me on Twitter!   Subscribe to my RSS feed!
     
  • Question of the Moment

    Since 1707, Scotland and England have been the United Kingdom. On Sept 18 Scotland will vote on becoming an independent country.

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Sponsors

  • Random Quote

    History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. — Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Popular Categories

  • Archives