Dental biotribology and microwear/nanowear formation

Team Members: Jing Xia, Peter S. Ungar, Licheng Hua, Zhong-rong Zhou, Jing Zheng, Linmao Qian, David Daegling, Jean-Francois Meullenet, Ryan Tian.

Funding Source: The National Academy of Science of China, Southeastern Conference

We are using principles from engineering to study the tribological properties of teeth.  Our work focuses on the etiology of microwear and nano-scale tooth wear in light of the biomechanical and chemical properties of tooth enamel.  This has involved a series of in vitro experiments involving chewing machines, nanoindentors, atomic force microscopes, instron machines and other instruments to work out the conditions and processes underlying the removal of enamel tissue from tooth surfaces.


Comparative study of anterior dental microwear in recent foragers and non-human primates

Team Members:  Lucas Delezene, Peter S. Ungar, Mark Teaford, Taylor Spillers, Sara Jeffress, Mike Plavcan

Funding Source: LSB Leakey Foundation

This project involves a comparative study of dental microwear textures in non-human primates and human foragers to establish a baseline for comparison with early hominins and other fossil primates.  Our work is focused on documenting diet-related variation microwear textures related to ingestive behavior in extant apes and sympatric primates as well as paramasticatory tooth use in recent hunter-gatherers.