C. Maier, G. R. Scott
Feb 12, 2021
Homo : internationale Zeitschrift fur die vergleichende Forschung am Menschen
Crenulated occlusal surfaces have previously been described on maxillary and mandibular molars; however, the occurrence of crenulations on premolars is only anecdotally supported. This study applies a modified version of a recordation scale developed for molar crenulations to record the frequency of crenulated premolars on the maxillary and mandibular premolars of modern individuals from a variety of populations: African, African American, Asian, Australian, European American, Latino, and Malay (n = 1238). Crenulations on the molars of the same individuals were also recorded to assess the relationship between occurrences on premolars and molars. Observations were compiled into frequency tables and analyzed using chi-square tests and correspondence analysis; relationships among teeth were quantified with polychoric correlation coefficients. Although crenulated premolars are observed rarely overall, the frequency of occurrence is significantly associated with group membership. Crenulated premolars occur most frequently in African, African American, and Australian samples and are observed least often among European American and Malay samples. Additionally, there is a strong relationship between third and fourth premolars, particularly within a jaw, and between fourth premolars and the molars in the same jaw. Interestingly, crenulations in premolars are most strongly associated with Grade 2 crenulations on molars. The observed differences between populations, and the associations between crenulated premolars and molars are evaluated with respect to function, tooth size, and dental development. Based on the results presented here, we recommend the addition of premolar crenulations to existing dental morphological traits used to study human population variation.