To describe the oral pathological conditions of Ohalo II H2, an Early Epipaleolithic human from southwest Asia.
The dentognathic skeleton of Ohalo II H2 and relevant comparative data from similar chronological and/or geographic contexts.
Gross and x-ray observations of oral pathological conditions and occlusal wear were made following published protocols. A differential diagnosis of antemortem tooth loss is provided.
Ohalo 2 has two carious lesions on the right M, pulpal exposure of left M, and mild to moderate anterior alveolar bone loss. The right I was lost antemortem, and there is probably agenesis of the left M.
The pathological conditions noted are not exceptional for a Late Upper Paleolithic forager. However, the antemortem missing right I is most parsimoniously explained by intentional dental ablation.
Ohalo 2 could represent the oldest example of dental ablation from the Late Pleistocene circum-Mediterranean world – predating the earliest examples from both North Africa and southwest Asia by several thousand years. The similarity of the Ohalo 2 ablation pattern with later Natufians provides further evidence of potential long-term behavioral trends related to the embodiment of social identities through international body modification within the Epipaleolithic of southwest Asia.
The pre-Natufian (∼23,000-14,500 cal BP) human fossil record is relatively sparse, making comparisons with the Natufian (∼14,500-11,500 cal BP) phases of the Epipaleolithic difficult.
Documentation of oral pathological conditions for other pre-Natufian fossils would provide greater resolution of the temporospatial patterning of oral health and embodied social identities during the Epipaleolithic of southwest Asia.

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References

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