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Dental Crown Size And Sex Hormone Concentrations: Another Look At The Development Of Sexual Dimorphism.

D. Guatelli-Steinberg, P. Sciulli, Tracy K. Betsinger
Published 2008 · Biology, Medicine

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Previous researchers hypothesized that tooth types forming during early childhood should be less sexually dimorphic than those forming during later childhood, if sex hormone concentration differences between males and females increase progressively throughout childhood and can affect tooth size. Descriptive tooth size data have recently been cited in support of this hypothesis, particularly with respect to differences in sexual dimorphism among the tooth types of tooth classes. The present study tests this hypothesis for the mesiodistal dimension of human permanent teeth using published data for incisor, premolar, and molar tooth classes from seven diverse populations. The sample size for each tooth type per population was at least 50. This study also tests a modification of this hypothesis which takes into account the postnatal testosterone surge in males and the low levels of sex hormones in both sexes prior to puberty. Predictions are developed for both the original and modified hypotheses. The "D" statistic, the total area of nonoverlap between the phenotypic distributions of males and females, is used to quantify sexual dimorphism. Comparison of D values for different tooth types within tooth classes across these seven populations does not strongly support either hypothesis. These results suggest that gross changes in sex hormone concentrations during development are not related to population-wide patterns of sexual dimorphism among the tooth types of human permanent tooth classes, as recent studies indicate. This finding is consistent with other studies which suggest that sex hormones have only a minor role in generating crown size sexual dimorphism.
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