ENAMEL THICKNESS MEASUREMENTS ON 3D RECONSTRUCTIONS OF TEETH FOR PALEONTOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS
Findings of teeth play a significant role in palaeoanthropology. And excavations in Vietnamese LangTrank cave serve as a vivid example and evidence of this statement. Teeth constitute the majority of the paleontological material dated to Middle and Late Pleistocene periods. This is to some extent the result of dietary preferences of porcupines as these rodents include in their diets bones of animals however avoiding extremely hard coronal parts of teeth. Under such circumstances teeth serve a key to taxonomic differentiation of findings as genetic analysis is often hindered by a lack of preserved DNA at such dating of material. However morphological analysis is difficult in some cases either, as teeth can be worn out or broken. In that case enamel thickness measurements become an effective study instrument as this feature varies between species. In the current study two teeth with clear signs of expressed dental wear, presumably upper fourth premolars of wild boar required more detailed analysis. Thus they were reconstructed after micro-computed tomography scanning similarly to other upper teeth picked for comparison: orang-utan tooth from the same location and two teeth from the Upper Palaeolithic Sunghir (they have been scanned earlier). This study required new approaches to image processing and measurement methodology due to marked attrition of the samples. The workflow and results of enamel thickness assessments which facilitated taxonomical differentiation of the findings are presented in the article.