Featured research (3)

Human root and canal number and morphology are highly variable, and internal root canal form and count does not necessarily co-vary directly with external morphology. While several typologies and classifications have been developed to address individual components of teeth, there is a need for a comprehensive system, that captures internal and external root features across all teeth. Using CT scans, the external and internal root morphologies of a global sample of humans are analysed (n = 945). From this analysis a method of classification that captures external and internal root morphology in a way that is intuitive, reproducible, and defines the human phenotypic set is developed. Results provide a robust definition of modern human tooth root phenotypic diversity. The method is modular in nature, allowing for incorporation of past and future classification systems. Additionally, it provides a basis for analysing hominin root morphology in evolutionary, ecological, genetic, and developmental contexts.
Human root and canal number and morphology are highly variable, and internal root canal form and count does not necessarily co-vary directly with external morphology. While several typologies and classifications have been developed to address individual components of teeth, there is a need for a comprehensive system, that captures internal and external root features across all teeth. Using CT scans, the external and internal root morphologies of a global sample of humans are analysed (n=945). From this analysis a method of classification that captures external and internal root morphology in a way that is intuitive, reproducible, and defines the human phenotypic set is developed. Results provide a robust definition of modern human tooth root phenotypic diversity. Our method is modular in nature, allowing for incorporation of past and future classification systems. Additionally, it provides a basis for analysing hominin root morphology in evolutionary, ecological, genetic, and developmental contexts.
While much of dental anthropology has focused on crown morphology (crown dimensions, cusp number, area, etc.), tooth roots are a relatively unexplored area of increasing interest. The development of advanced imaging technologies has greatly increased access to the evolutionary and adaptive information preserved in roots and has provided a rich source of additional information about the nature of human phenotypic diversity. The main focus of our study was to detect and explore relationships between tooth root morphology and geographic populations.

Lab head

Robert Foley
Department
  • Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies

Members (1)

Jason Gellis
  • University of Cambridge