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Scientists Analyze 100,000-Year-Old Child’s Teeth

Thursday, January 17, 2019

China child teethBEIJING, CHINA—Science News reports that paleoanthropologist Song Xing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and her colleagues examined the teeth of a child who died at about six and one-half years of age at least 104,000 years ago, and perhaps more than 200,000 years ago. They found that the child’s dental growth and development proceeded slowly, at a pace similar to that experienced by modern human children living today. X-rays of the child’s fossilized upper jaw revealed the first molars had erupted a few months before death, and their roots were three-quarters grown, as is common in six-year-old modern human children. Xing and the other team members say the child’s skeletal remains have a mix of features resembling traits of Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and Homo sapiens. The child may even have been Denisovan, Xing added. The scientists may try to retrieve a DNA sample from the child’s jaw or teeth for further testing. For more on research involving teeth, go to “Not So Pearly Whites.”

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