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Italian Scientists Find 6,500-Yr-Old Filling in Human Tooth Embedded in Cave Wall


An ancient cracked tooth repaired with a filling made of beeswax may be the earliest known example of therapeutic dentistry, researchers say.

The tooth is 65 centuries old and was part of a man’s jaw found more than 100 years ago in Slovenia.

Definite evidence of ancient dentistry is rare. The oldest examples are 7,500- to 9,500-year-old molars found in Pakistan that had regularly shaped cavities with concentric ridges drilled into them. Other, more questionable finds include a 5,500-year-old artificial tooth from Egypt.

Scientists reported online Wednesday in the journal PLoS ONE that they found the filling as they analyzed a 6,500-year-old lower jaw recovered from a cave near Trieste, Italy. The jaw, which once belonged to a 24- to 30-year-old man, included a left canine tooth possessing a vertical crack in its hard enamel and softer dentin layers. The severe wear and tear seen on the tooth was probably due to activities besides eating, the researchers said  — for instance, men of the time might have used their teeth to soften leather or help make tools, and the women bit down on threads to hold them while weaving.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49094441/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.UFyrRUXyaCN

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