Dental Discoveries: Teeth Contain Growth Rings Like Trees

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Tanya Smith, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, explains how our teeth grow rings similar to trees and how they also create physiological markers that record our lives.


Human Evolution: Investigating Our Origins

Science is always evolving. New discoveries shape our current understanding of human evolutionary milestones such as bipedalism, the use of tools, dietary adaptation, changing body shapes and sizes, and life historys.

Join us to reflect on the roots of humanity as we explore key early hominin adaptations and their evolution through time. Speakers include: Zeray Alemseged, Adrienne Zihlman, Tanya Smith and Teresa Steele.

Tanya M. Smith is an Assistant Professor, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, and an Associated Scientist, Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany)

Tanya conducted field work in Costa Rica, Madagascar, Nicaragua, and Wyoming, in addition to extensive laboratory and museum work in Europe and Africa. Her current research is focused on the study of ape and human dental development, which provides important insight into evolutionary developmental biology. Teeth — an often under-appreciated aspect of our anatomy — preserve permanent records of an organism’s daily, near-weekly, and yearly biological rhythms.

Her work has been featured in National Geographic, Science, Smithsonian, Slate, and Discovery magazines, as well as on PBS, History Channel, Voice of America and BBC broadcast media. At Harvard University she offers courses on human evolutionary anatomy, Neanderthals and evolutionary theory, and a hands-on research seminar on primate dental histology.



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