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首页 » 生物研究 » PNAS:远古狩猎采集者也长蛀牙

PNAS:远古狩猎采集者也长蛀牙

来源:中国科学报 2014-01-13 13:51

1月7日刊登于美国《国家科学院院刊》上的一项研究指出,考古学家在摩洛哥一个洞穴中发现了以采集坚果为特征的狩猎采集者人群牙齿腐蚀情况的早期证据。

龋齿是一种能引起牙齿损坏的传染性疾病。龋齿在近代人类中的高发性归结于更频繁地食用富含可发酵碳水化合物的植物性食物。而在远古时期,龋齿就在折磨着人类,尽管龋齿首次出现的准确时间一直不能确定,但有假说认为它最早出现在人类农业的开端。

英国伦敦自然史博物馆地球科学部的Louise T. Humphrey及其同事记录了在摩洛哥Grotte des Pigeons发现的狩猎采集者遗骸的龋齿数量。研究人员表示,13700年前到15000年前,该地点的居民受到了口腔疾病的影响,发掘出的成年人牙齿有51%出现了龋齿。

在该地点得到的进一步证据提示,这些居民系统地采集橡子和松子,它们都是可发酵碳水化合物的来源。口腔细菌很可能摄取了这些狩猎采集者牙齿上的碳水化合物,导致了牙齿腐蚀。

这些结果提示狩猎采集者社会可能已经发展出了一种比此前认为的更固定的生活方式,其依赖于收获坚果。

作者说,这些发现挑战了一个假说,即龋齿起源于农业社会,并且提示在依赖野生植物性食物的古代人群中发现了可以与现代社会相比的牙齿腐蚀率。(生物谷Bioon.com)

生物谷推荐的英文摘要

Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States of America            doi: 10.1073/pnas.1318176111

Earliest evidence for caries and exploitation of starchy plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from Morocco

Louise T. Humphreya,1, Isabelle De Grootea,b, Jacob Moralesc,d, Nick Bartone, Simon Collcuttf, Christopher Bronk Ramseyg, and Abdeljalil Bouzouggarh,i

Dental caries is an infectious disease that causes tooth decay. The high prevalence of dental caries in recent humans is attributed to more frequent consumption of plant foods rich in fermentable carbohydrates in food-producing societies. The transition from hunting and gathering to food production is associated with a change in the composition of the oral microbiota and broadly coincides with the estimated timing of a demographic expansion in Streptococcus mutans, a causative agent of human dental caries. Here we present evidence linking a high prevalence of caries to reliance on highly cariogenic wild plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from North Africa, predating other high caries populations and the first signs of food production by several thousand years. Archaeological deposits at Grotte des Pigeons in Morocco document extensive evidence for human occupation during the Middle Stone Age and Later Stone Age (Iberomaurusian), and incorporate numerous human burials representing the earliest known cemetery in the Maghreb. Macrobotanical remains from occupational deposits dated between 15,000 and 13,700 cal B.P. provide evidence for systematic harvesting and processing of edible wild plants, including acorns and pine nuts. Analysis of oral pathology reveals an exceptionally high prevalence of caries (51.2% of teeth in adult dentitions), comparable to modern industrialized populations with a diet high in refined sugars and processed cereals. We infer that increased reliance on wild plants rich in fermentable carbohydrates and changes in food processing caused an early shift toward a disease-associated oral microbiota in this population.

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