Dental Functional Morphology: How Teeth Work

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Dental Functional Morphology offers an innovative alternative to the received wisdom that teeth merely crush, cut, shear or grind food, and shows how teeth adapt to diet. Providing an analysis of tooth action based on an understanding of how food particles break, it shows how tooth form from the earliest mammals to modern-day humans can be understood using very basic considerations about fracture. It outlines the theoretical basis step-by-step, explaining the factors governing tooth shape and size, and provides an allometric analysis that will revolutionize attitudes to the evolution of the human face and the impact of cooked foods on our dentition. In addition, the basis of the mechanics behind the fracture of different types of food, and methods of measurement are given in an easy-to-use appendix. It will be an important sourcebook for physical anthropologists, dental and food scientists, palaeontologists and those interested in feeding ecology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" original and comprehensive overview..." Science

"It is not often that a body of research can be called 'revolutionary', but Peter Lucas' work is just that. He has changed, in a most fundamental way, how we perceive the form-function relationship between teeth and food. ...Dental Functional Morphology codifies a quarter century of research by one of the field's best and brightest...a must read." Peter Ungar, University of Arkansas

"Professor Lucas has written a very personal book on a subject about which he clearly feels quite passionate. It is a very well written text and covers a great deal of ground. The book is not really aimed at the practising dentist, but at anyone who may have an interest in the function of teeth. It gives a well researched, but personal, view of the evolution of teeth relative to function. The author's style is very chatty and his sense of humour pervades the whole text making the book very readable." British Dental Journal

"Dental Functional Morphology presents an original and comprehensive overview of its field, and it provides a rich source of fresh ideas." Science Magazine

"Students from dental form will benefit from these ideas." American Journal of Human Biology, Mark Spencer, Department of Anthropology, Institute of Human Origins, Arizon State University

"A nice fresh book on dental anatomy, occlusion, evolution, pathology and associated subjects. Good illustration." Journal of the American Association of Forensic Dentists

"Lucas has filled the text with fascinating observations, humorous asides and wonderfully detailed footnotes." Nature Publishing Group

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521035408
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 372
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER W. LUCAS is Professor of Anatomy at the University of Hong Kong.

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Table of Contents

Preface; Flickart; 1. How to get excited about teeth; 2. The basic structure of the mammalian mouth; 3. How the mouth operates; 4. Tooth shape; 5. Tooth size; 6. Tooth wear; 7. The evolution of the mammalian dentition; Appendix A. Mechanical properties and their measurement: material properties made easy; Appendix B. Properties of teeth and potential foods; Notes; References; Index.

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