The Magdalenian Girl Becomes A Woman*

x-ray Magdalenian mandible
The above is a digital x-ray of the mandible of a 13,000-15,000 year old skeleton nicknamed the “Magdalenian Girl”. Except she wasn’t a girl – misleading name, previous age estimates put her at between 18-22. The 18-22 estimate was based on the fact that the wisdom teeth (or third molar) had not erupted yet. Interestingly enough, there was other skeltal evidence that indicated the age of individual might be older, but up until the above x-ray was taken that evidence was ignored. From Science Daily:

“There had always been some tension between the young age suggested by the state of dental development and the much older age suggested by a number of developmental and degenerative changes in the rest of the skeleton,”…

What is so special about the above picture?

If you look at the part I have circled in red you will note an impacted wisdom tooth. Clearly, then, the Magdalenian Girl was somewhat older. New estimates for her age between 25-35. What this also indicates is a change in diet. There are a number of studies that indicate that monkeys and people feed soft diets (i. e. eating more highly processed foods) have higher frequencies of tooth impactions (among other changes). Basically, soft foods reduce the amount of masticatory loading which causes a reduction in the growth of bone supporting the teeth. Which leads to various occlusal abnormalities. Cooked food would be my guess, since this is a little early for the introduction of agriculture in Europe (the Magdalenian “Woman” comes from Cap Blanc, France)…
*This title should get me some hits from google…

3 Responses

  1. I have a question about blogs. I frequently see things like “the above is” – as you have. But I don’t see anything – no reference, no link, no picture. Do I have something set wrong?

  2. Yes, your browser needs to be set to show pictures…

  3. Reminds me of that cheesy Neil Diamond song, “Girl, You’ll be a Woman, Soon”.
    karl –
    I see a picture just fine. Might be something in your computer that needs adjusting.

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