Canine use in hominins

Team Members: Lucas Delezene, Peter S. Ungar, J. Michael Plavcan, Mark Teaford

Funding Source: Leakey Foundation

Using dental microtexture analysis, we are examining the hypothesis that early hominins used their canines in ingestive behaviors. To do so, we will compare microwear in five hominin species to that of a range of anthropoid primates that use their canines in a variety of preparatory and nonmasticatory contexts.

Predmostí canid microwear

Team Members: Kari Prassack, Peter S. Ungar, Josie DuBois,  Martina Laznickova-Galetova, Mietje Germonpre.

We are examining microwear textures on the carnassials and postcarnassial teeth of fossil canids from  the site of Predmosti in the Czech Republic.  Some researchers have distinguished “protodogs” from wolves at this important Upper Paleolithic site, and hence Predmosti is an important key to debates concerning the initial domestication of dogs.  Our project will contribute to the discussions by testing the hypothesis that samples identified as protodogs had different diets than those recognized as wolves.

Microwear of Norse and Thule inhabitants of Greenland 

Team Members:
Naseer Nassem, Peter Ungar, Lucas Delezene

Funding Source LSB Leakey Foundation

The fate of Greenland’s Viking settlements remains a topic of intense debate among archaeologists and historians.  Why did they disappear whereas the Thule survived and thrived to become today’s Greenlandic Inuit?  We are comparing dental microwear patterns on the molar teeth of early Viking and Thule settlers at sites from around Greenland.  The goal is to determine whether there were differences over time and space, both within and between groups, in diet that might contribute to the discussion.