Robert Macchiarelli, palaeoanthropologist

Robert Macchiarelli, palaeoanthropologist

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Credit: PHILIPPE PLAILLY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Robert Macchiarelli, Italian professor of palaeoanthropology at the University of Poitiers, France. Macchiarelli took part in a study concerning 9000 to 7500 year old teeth discovered at the farming site of Mehrgarh, in what is now Pakistan. The 11 teeth belonged to nine adult residents and are of special anthropological importance because they are the earliest known examples of dental work. The teeth, from both men and women, contain minute holes and subsequent smoothing by chewing proving the work was carried out while they were still alive. Macchiarelli believes the holes were bored into the teeth with a flint-tipped bow drill, to alleviate pain.

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