Some studies on living humans and great apes have indicated that life-history parameters (LHP) such as pregnancies, skeletal trauma, and renal disease can be identified from hypomineralized growth layers of tooth cementum. The explanation offered was that lack of available calcium at the mineralization front of the cementum during those “crisis” events causes formation of a hypomineralized growth layer. By observing different visual effects of those layers, hypomineralized ones can be detected, as they appear to be broader, wider and darker under optical magnification with transmuted light. However, use of tooth cementum growth layers as an individual age estimation method and as a life history identification aid remains sporadic, with results often carefully qualified or disputed.
Project EUROLIFE’s primary aim was to develop and test a new method for establishing human LHPs from teeth microstructure.