Dental anthropological study of prehistoric humans in Portugal
Dental anthropology studies teeth to compare ancient and modern humans or population groups to find similarities and differences in the structure of teeth in relation to evolutionary trends. Advances in non-invasive imaging technology provide high-resolution data on internal dental morphology (enamel thickness, tissue proportions, enamel dentine junction shape) for analysis of dental morphological variation and evolution. The EU-funded VAPP project will focus on prehistoric human population dynamics and microevolution in Portugal. Late Pleistocene to mid-Holocene Portugal survived complex environmental, climatic and demographic changes, making it an ideal regional case study to address human evolution. The project will establish an open-source virtual dental anthropology data set for the region, enabling deep analysis of dental microevolution corresponding to diets and socioeconomic changes and population dynamics during transitional periods in Portuguese prehistory.