subject: tartar

Dental Time Machines: Tartar Provides Direct Evidence of Dairy Consumption in Africa

Dental Time Machines: Tartar Provides Direct Evidence of Dairy Consumption in Africa

Six-thousand-year-old tartar is a dental hygienist’s nightmare but an archaeologist’s dream. That’s because the same yellow, cement-like deposits that have to be manually scraped off during a dental visit are also dietary time capsules. Like an insect preserved in amber, food particles from a lifetime of meals get trapped in tartar’s mineral matrix and become part of the fossil record. Rather than infer what past populations might have eaten, researchers can analyze ancient plaque and say what one particular individual actually ate. Read More...

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