Hammerl Grant Award
Congrats to Affiliate Dr. Emily Hammerl, who has received a grant from the Nestlé Research Center (Taste and Aroma Impact Division; Lausanne, Switzerland) to support her project, Subadult Mandibular Morphology in an Early Medieval Skeletal Collection from Northern France Compared with Modern Individuals of European Ancestry. With her collaborators Megan Moore (Eastern Michigan University) and Elizabeth DiGangi (Binghamton University, SUNY), she will be investigating the biomechanical role of mastication in the development and morphology of the human mandible in subadults and adults. Intervention studies using animal models have shown that the consistency (i.e. texture) of food in the diet plays a substantial role in craniofacial development. Additionally, claims have been put forth that sucking and mastication play an ultimate role in the shape of the human mandible, but this has not been tested. It is clear that follow up research on the role that diet plays in the development of the human mandible is needed to elucidate this question. Implications of mandibular development in modern individuals include malocclusion and dental impaction. This work explores adult and subadult mandibular morphology from a medieval bioarchaeological sample from Northern France (7th to 11th centuries) as compared to modern adult and subadult individuals from Northern Europe and the United States. Our preliminary data emphasizes secular change (i.e. change in development, size, or morphology over generations) in subadults.