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whom I have discussed the matter to
speculate that these oro-facial patholo-
gies might be a major contributor to
an early death. Gejvall's comment that
severe attrition and the sequelae of
infection were probable causes of
death is therefore most welcome.

Significant among the variables of
tooth wear are the properties of the
tooth tissues themselves. The chemical
composition of the substances chewed
is also likely to influence the rate of
wear, as pointed out by Van Valen and
Dewey. Only a few studies, of a limited
nature, have been carried out to inves-
tigate this question of changes in the
oral environment. It is useful, there-
fore, to learn of the investigations de-
scribed by Van Valen which report a
constant rate of enamel loss in bats and
laboratory rats.

During my work on tooth wear, I
came across several excellent papers
on the microstructural quality of teeth
(Bradford 1960, Kraus 1969, Nalban-
dian, Gonzales, and Sognnaes 1960,
Sognnaes 1956). Sognnaes proposed
that the tooth is a sensitive indicator of
the developmental quality of the or-
ganism and especially of the calcifying
properties of the diet. Kraus agreed
and pointed out that the extended
embryonic period of tooth develop-


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These changes in dentine will affect
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person's mineral metabolism, is the
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invaluable information about diet, dis-
ease, and the general state of health of
the individual and hence the ecological
position of the whole population. The
teeth are especially sensitive indicators
of the many environmental variables
that affect mineralization in the sys-
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vide vital records if only we can learn
to read them, and these records are of
considerable time depth, a condition
which is lacking in studies of so many
other biological features.

My work, which started with investi-
gations of human chewing motions
and experimentally produced wear
patterns, has now led to the problem
of discrete changes in tooth enamel,
dentine, and cementum. This paper
discusses only a single facet: gross
structural changes in response to cul-
tural factors. I hope the reader, like
the commentators, will appreciate the
numerous interrelated factors in-
volved in dental-environmental rela-
tionships. The challenge is there, the
research possibilities are endless, and
the returns in terms of information
about evolutionary processes are very
great. More work is needed in all areas
discussed in the paper, the comments,
and this reply.




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