School of Anthropology & Conservation

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Dr Mona Le Luyer

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Human evolution; dental development; growth trajectories


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Academic Background

I am a biological anthropologist studying teeth to assess late human evolution and interactions among biological, environmental and cultural modifications. I defended my PhD at the University of Bordeaux in January 2016, on dental evolution in Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene human populations from southwest France, assessing both external (crown dimensions, occlusal wear and nonmetric variations) and internal aspects (enamel thickness, dental tissue proportions, enamel-dentine junction morphology), using 3D imaging methods (microCT) and geometric morphometrics.

I am a Fyssen postdoctoral fellow at the School of Anthropology and Conservation with a research project to study enamel biorhythms and childhood growth trajectories.

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Peer-reviewed journal publications

Monograph chapter

  • BAYLE P., LE LUYER M., ROBSON BROWN K., 2017. The dental remains: enamel thickness, and tissue proportions. In: TRINKAUS E., WALKER M. (Eds). The people of Palomas: Neandertals from the Sima de las Palomas, Cabeza Gordo, Southeastern Spain. College Station, Texas A&M Press Anthropology Series, p. 115-137.

Academic dissertation

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My research focuses on the evolution of human teeth during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene boundary, which was a key period in our social and cultural evolutionary history associated with major environmental modifications and the transition to agriculture. Based on observations and external crown metrics, a reduction in tooth size and morphological complexity has been recorded at the end of the Pleistocene and it is discussed in relation to the generalisation of the farmer and breeder ways of life. The influence of these changes that have influenced the biological evolution of human groups is still poorly understood, especially on internal dental tissue morphology and structural organisation.

At the meso- and microstructural levels, teeth provide a wealth of unique information about growth trajectories and life-history parameters. This unique amount of biological data is stored at the external level, but mostly internally in enamel and dentine microstructures. Thus a key for understanding the dental variations observed between Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene human groups is to retrieve accurate information on their development by moving from the external surface deep into the internal structure. Accordingly, by combining meso- and microstructural analyses, we aim to progress in the subtle assessment of tooth development variation and its causes in human children.

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Last Updated: 23/01/2018