Dental Hygeine among Neandertals some 60,000 years ago

From Christine Kenneally and John Hawks comes this cool finding of two Neandertal molars from around 63,400 years old that show our relatives may have been dental hygiene fans,

The teeth have “grooves formed by the passage of a pointed object, which confirms the use of a small stick for cleaning the mouth,” Paleontology Professor Juan Luis Arsuaga told reporters, presenting an archaeological find in Madrid.

The fossils, unearthed in Pinilla del Valle, are the first human examples found in the Madrid region in 25 years, the regional government’s culture department said.

It is believed that the teeth are from a 30 year old individual based on the wear and tear. Here are the two teeth:

Two Neandertal Molars from 63,400 years ago

Teeth these clean will surely make my dentist happy.

Hawks links us up to an article from 2003 by Leslea Hlsuko that shows dental hygiene is not that uncommon throughout human evolution,

“toothpicking is nothing new. The first evidence of these interproximal grooves is nearly 2 million years old!”

Her paper is titled, “The Oldest Hominid Habit? Experimental Evidence for Toothpicking with Grass Stalks.”

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