Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title



The morphological characteristics of the teeth can be scored, catalogued and used in forensic anthropology to identify unknown individuals, and in bioarchaeology to compare populations as dental traits are highly heritable. The Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (ASUDAS) provides a standardized scoring system for certain morphological traits on the dentition; the standardization allows for the replication of a study by different researchers. The ASUDAS was used on premolars and molars from isolated mandibles and maxillae of the Bioarchaeology Teaching Collection at Georgia State University. A total of 23 lower premolars, 30 lower molars, 11 upper premolars and 19 upper molars were examined. A premolar lingual cusp was more often present than not but at a low expression. An anterior fovea occurs in 74% of individuals and the most common groove pattern is a + form where cusps 1-4 contact each other. A total of 57% of individuals exhibit four mandibular molar cusps whereas 40% are observed to have a hypoconulid and a single individual presents an entoconulid. A moderately expressed deflecting wrinkle is found on 20% of individuals. A small protostylid, expressed as a buccal pit on the protoconid, appears in 40% of the sample, and a single individual exhibits a secondary groove that continues mesially. The hypoconulid, when present, is expressed as either a small or very small cusp. A metacone is most often expressed as a weak, small or intermediate cusp. The hypocone ranges from a faint ridge to a large cusp. A metaconule is only rarely present and when observed is expressed as a faint cuspule. Carabelli’s cusp is absent in 43% of the sample and ranges from a groove to a medium-sized cusp. A common theme is the variability of traits and the low incidence of extreme expressions of dental morphology in the sample.

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