Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History logo

Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

Dental Morphology

The analysis of dental morphological trait variation may be used to infer past population history. Like cranial nonmetric traits, dental variants cannot be measured but are scored according to the degree of expression. The Osteoware Dental Morphology module allows fast and accurate recording of data using the trait list and protocol presented in the Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994) Standards, which is a subset of the Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (Turner et al., 1991).

While text descriptions and images of the ASU series of reference plaques appear in the published literature (e.g. Hillson 1996), scoring dental traits from the original plaques is highly recommended. Contact the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU, General Inquiries for availability: ASUDAS@asu.edu

  • One data entry screen streamlines accurate documentation
  • Contextually driven scoring boxes and trait category definitions
  • Comments field available for qualitative descriptions

The Osteoware Dental Morphology module consists of a single data entry screen with the maxillary and mandibular traits listed on the right side, and a dental arcade with contextually driven scoring boxes and trait descriptions on the left side. Selecting a trait on the right side provides ‘Help’ text and data entry boxes for each relevant tooth. Clicking the button in the upper right opens a Comments field to enter a more qualitative description of unusual traits or caveats on the documentation itself.

The Dental Morphology data entry screen with Maxillary Shoveling selected from the list on the right side, and scoring boxes for the appropriate teeth and trait category definitions provided on the left side.

A subadult maxilla presenting with category 4 “Semishovel” on the central incisors (stronger ridging with tendency to convergence), and category 5 “Shovel” on lateral incisors (stronger development of ridges almost in contact at cingulum). See screenshot above.

A subadult mandible illustrating ‘groove pattern’ and ‘cusp number’, each trait scored separately. The M1 exhibits a Y pattern with 5 cusps, while M2 has a + pattern and 4 cusps. M3 may be observable in its crypt with magnification and directed light, but otherwise is scored as ‘9’unobservable. See screenshot below.

The Dental Morphology data entry screen with Mandibular Groove Pattern selected from the list on the right side, and scoring boxes for the appropriate teeth and trait category definitions provided on the left side.

References

Buikstra, J.E. and D.H. Ubelaker. Standards for Data Collection From the Human Skeletal Remains. Arkansas Archaeological Survey Research Series No. 44. Arkansas Archaeological Survey: Fayetteville, 1994.

Hillson, S. Dental Anthropology. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1996.

Turner II, C.G., C. Nichol, and G. Scott. Scoring Procedures for Key Morphological Traits of the Permanent Dentition: The Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System. In M. Kelly and C.S. Larsen (eds) Advances in Dental Anthropology. Willey-Liss, New York, pp.13-31.