2000 Volume 108 Issue 4 Pages 371-385
It is generally perceived among anthropologists that the degree of tooth wear had been consistently heavy in our ancestors until several thousand years ago. In order to test this impression quantitatively, degree of occlusal wear was compared among several fossil and subfossil groups of our genus, Homo, using a wear scoring method based on an ordinal scale. In spite of several restrictions in the nature of the available samples, the results support the view that heavy occlusal wear such that make the whole occlusal surface completely flat had been ubiquitous and normal in the course of past two million years of human evolution. This observation is important because it constitutes the fundamental premise of Begg's hypothesis that the human dentition and occlusion are adapted to heavy tooth wear.