Researchers at the University of Arizona in the United States think they may have solved the mystery of wisdom teeth, which may play a key role in monitoring changes in our evolution.
“One of the mysteries of human biological evolution is the exact synchronicity between the appearance and biography of molars, and how they were organized,” says Halska Gloka, a leading author and anthropologist.
With the help of Gary Swartz, a paleontologist at the University of Arizona, Gluca collected examples of various skulls and compared their evolution.
By transforming the bones and teeth of 21 species of animals into 3D models, the researchers were able to learn that our adult moles also have a lot of time with the subtle balance of biomechanics in our developing skulls.
Adult dental forms are used to grind our food into paste, which usually emerges from our gums in three stages – around 6, 12 and 18 years of age.
Other animals receive their adult moles in advance. Despite all our similarities in developmental stages, chimpanzees (Pan troclotites) acquire their molars at 3, 6 and 12 years of age. Yellow baboons (Papio sinocephalus) burst their last adult moles by the age of seven, and macaques (macaque mulatta) by the age of six.
Interval is an important factor in controlling tooth eruption time. If the jaw is not big enough for an adult tooth, there is no point in putting pressure on it.
And there is not enough mouth space for humans, and attacked wisdom teeth are a big problem for our species. But this does not explain why it seems so late in our lives.
However, having an empty space for the growing tooth does not seem to be a good idea there. Also numerous muscles and bones support the teeth, ensuring adequate pressure to safely tear and grind our food. And there seems to be “safety” behind the development of our delayed teeth.
“Our jaws grow very slowly, usually along with our slow biographies and our short faces, which are delayed when there is a mechanically safe space, which leads to a late eruption,” Swartz says.
In primates, the posterior molars are located in front of the temporomandibular joints, which together form the joints between the jaw and the skull. And unlike the other joints in our body, the two axes must work in perfect harmony with each other. You need to shift a reasonable amount of force to one or more points to make you bite and chew.
In biomechanics, this three-point process is governed by so-called principles of controlled flight modeling. Place the tooth in the wrong place and the forces generated under this model may be bad for the jaw which is not large enough to handle.
For creatures with long jaws, the time it takes for the skull to form the correct structure for the teeth near the muscles near the joint is relatively short.
For humans with our substantially flat faces, there is no such luck, and we have to wait until our skulls are formed so that the forces you place on each skull do not harm our growing jaw.
This will not only provide us with a new way to assess dental conditions such as affected molars, but will also help ancient researchers better understand the evolution of our unique jaws among our ancestors.
“This study provides a powerful new lens through which we can see the known links between tooth growth, skull growth and maturity profiles,” Gluvaka said.
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