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Seminar: Tales From Teeth - Histological Study on Stress in Primates and its Application for Osteo-Archaeology

Event Details:

  • Date:       Wednesday 31 January 2018
  • Time:      16:30
  • Venue:    The Cyprus Institute – Guy Ourisson Building, Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Athalassa Campus
  • Speaker: Dr Simone Lemmers, Kent University & Durham University, UK.

* The seminar will be in English and the event is open to the public.

bonesTeeth grow incrementally and do not remodel once formed. Therefore, they are able to hold valuable information on an individual’s early life development. Additional to the normal, regular growth increments, accentuated lines in enamel and dentine are thought to form at the time of stressful events. 


However, our understanding of when, how and why such accentuated lines form in relation to stressful events is limited. To test the relationship between accentuated lines and stressful events, I used a sample of well-studied non-human primates, for which daily observational data was available. I used dates of birth and death to calibrate dental histology to calendar time and individual age and matched observed life events with the presence of accentuated lines in teeth. My results suggest that accentuated lines can correspond to potentially stressful events, including weaning stress and menstrual cycles, as well as parturitions. I will further discuss how these results are useful for primatologist as well as their application to archaeological samples.

About The Speaker
Simone Lemmers received her bachelor and master’s degrees in Archaeology from Leiden University (the Netherlands) with a focus in Human Osteoarchaeology and prehistoric burial practices. During her Research master, she became particularly interested in hard tissue histology, exploring the added value of bone histology when analysing damaged and fragmented human remains, including cremations.

She continued in research and teaching positions in the field of osteoarchaeology but decided for her PhD to take a slightly different direction. She conducted her doctoral research project at Durham University in Biological Anthropology, combining hard tissue histology with primatology, thereby taking a broader, evolutionary approach. The project was called "Stress, life history, and dental development in primates", exploring how dental histology can be used to assess physiological stress related to life history events. After finishing her PhD, she is now applying the newly acquired techniques back to archaeological settings.

For further information, please contact: Dr Kirsi O. Lorentz (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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Additional Info

  • Date: Wednesday 31 January 2018
  • Time: Starts: 16:30
  • Speaker: Dr Simone Lemmers,
  • Speaker Position: Kent University & Durham University, UK.