Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Task of Dentition

This is my story on doing the analysis upon dentition remains from Halmahera Islands, Indonesia. A project that came to my lap through a mutual friend, in which I honestly doubt that I can finish. I have always hated dentition since my college days in Sheffield. The hate emerged from the feeling that they are too close to comfort with my daily problems with my own teeth. Moreover, the times I remember when I had to actually memorize the crowns, the roots, the paracones, metacones, metaconids, the anatomy of tooth -- all brings cold wintery days I had to spent up north.

But! 
You would not believe how taking this challenge of analysing THOUSANDS (literally) of teeth would made me changed my mind. Now I like teeth. I believe that hanging around those thousands have made me at the very least understand how to distinguish one tooth from another. I even began to think that teeth and very important! *duh!* Why? Because at some point, teeth is all you have from a human remain, archaeologically or forensically. You just have no choice but to put your faith on those teeth.


 You start it out with manuals from White & Folkens (2005), page 127. They provided great outlines and comparative descriptions within human dentition. Then, you go ahead to read Molnar's or Hillson's or Broca's or Lovejoy's. You began to understand how the roots of superior third molar is different than the inferior third molar. Or how to distinguish superior first molar from the superior second molar. To make the task harder, try distinguish the premolars altogether. *shakeshead* That is when these charts and comparative pictures come in handy. I have become so attached to these pictures, that I do not want to let them out of my sight. I know, this is NOT a good example to do my job. But, who doesn't consult White & Folkens, right? Hahahahaha.





 
 
My task is to get through those teeth and identify them, label them, bag them, and put them into database for the next step of the data processing. From left to right, is the process of my work. Far left - the pile. Second picture is the pile, out from the bags. Third picture, how I laid them down on my own modified chart. Fourth picture, yaay, bagged them! Sometimes, I also have to take pictures of the diseased ones - or the ones with total anomalies.



I love the whole process of analysing these remains. So far, the conclusion is that if you don't have a caries, you're not a part of this hip community. No, seriously. Like 60% of them got caries, and so little calculus or hypoplasia (which is my favorite lesion - i don't know why!). Anyways, my next task is to wrestle with Excel to squeeze out some information about these people. I cannot share that part yet, but I am safe to say: I'm nearly DONE!!!

And guess what I am going to do tomorrow!!!!
I am going to approximate some faces with Susan Hayes. AWESOME!!!

p.s: ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ARE COURTESY OF ME! taken with the Almighty Canon Powershot G9. NO STEALING PLEASE....