Pre-historic dentists in Asia?
LONDON -- Pre-historic people living in Asia 8,000 years ago may have used stone-tipped drills to fix their teeth.
In what could be one of the earliest examples of dentistry, scientists in the United States have found tiny, perfectly rounded holes in teeth found in Mehrgarh in pre-historic Pakistan.
The scientists from the University of Missouri-Columbia suspect the holes were drilled to repair tooth decay, New Scientist magazine said Wednesday.
"The researchers looked at the holes with an electron microscope and found the sides were too perfectly rounded to be cavities caused by bacteria," according to the weekly science magazine.
"Under the microscope, they could see concentric grooves left by what was probably a drill with a tiny stone bit."
Plants inserted in hole
Andrea Cucina, who first discovered the holes, said they didn't appear to be a funeral rite and the teeth were still in the jaw so had not been drilled to make a necklace.
Scientists suspect the holes were a treatment for tooth decay and that plants or another substance had been inserted into them to prevent bacterial growth.
"At this point we can't be certain," said Cucina. "But it is very tantalizing to think they had such knowledge of health and cavities and medicine to do this."
Reuters contributed to this report.
See related sites about Asia
U.S. 'ready to talk' with N. Korea
Death toll nears 1,000 in South Asia's cold spell
IAEA: Year for Iraq inspections
U.S. doubles forces in Persian Gulf
Mugabe resignation offer proposed
OPEC to raise daily oil output
N. Y. plans to heal skyline
Stocks rise on Case departure
Lieberman's presidential announcement today
New arrests may be linked to UK ricin scare
Jordan says farewell for the third time
Shaq could miss playoff game for child's birth
Ex-USOC official says athletes bent drug rules
|Back to the top|