3000-year-old sawn-off tooth may be the earliest evidence of horse dentistry

Horses like these continue to be the center of Mongolia’s economy.

William Taylor

3000-year-old sawn-off tooth may be the earliest evidence of horse dentistry

Three thousand years ago, a horse in Mongolia had a toothache that was probably making it—and its owner—miserable. So the owner tried to help, by attempting to saw the painful top off the offending incisor. The procedure is among the earliest evidence of veterinary dentistry in the world, according to a new study, and the practices that flowed from it may have helped horses transform human civilization.

“It’s a great study,” says Robin Bendrey, an archaeologist and ancient horse expert at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the work. As horses became more important, he says, nomadic herders “are investing greater effort in understanding how to care for them.”

William Taylor, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, first came across the strange sawn tooth in the collections of the National Museum of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. “I could not for the life of me muster an explanation,” he says.

He turned to his Mongolian colleagues, archaeologists Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan and Tumurbaatar Tuvshinjargal, who grew up in the Mongolian countryside and have firsthand knowledge of traditional horse husbandry. The group concluded that the sawn tooth was an early, if inefficient, form of dentistry. The tooth had grown in crooked and was likely painful, but rather than pulling the incisor out completely, the notch shows that the ancient herder tried to cut its top off to restore a flat chewing surface, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (The procedure may not have worked, as the herder only made it halfway through the tooth. Shortly after, the horse was sacrificed and ritually buried.)

Together with another cut tooth from around the same time, the discovery shows that about 2000 years after horses were first domesticated, people were still figuring out the best way to take care of their teeth using basic stone tools.

The notch in this horse incisor, which had grown in crooked, shows that a herder tried to saw part of it off.

W. Taylor et al.; Origins of Equine Dentistry, PNAS, (2018)

Over time, horse dental care in Mongolia became much more systematic, Taylor and colleagues found. In the 3000-year-old horse skulls the team studied, many horses still had their “wolf teeth”—small, pointy teeth that grow in the space between the teeth in the front of a horse’s mouth and those in their cheeks. Wolf teeth are an evolutionary relic, and horses no longer use them for chewing; many horses don’t even develop them.

In today’s horses, when wolf teeth do grow in, they occupy some of the space where the bit sits. The contact between the tooth and the metal riding equipment can cause pain and tooth damage, so both Western veterinarians and Mongolian herders routinely remove these teeth.

But back when ancient herders were making their first forays into horse dentistry, bits were still made of leather. With softer equipment, early domesticated horses could keep their wolf teeth.

Beginning around 750 B.C.E., however, nearly all of the horses Taylor’s group examined were missing their wolf teeth. In many of the skulls, they could see a healed hole where a wolf tooth had been pulled out. That shift coincides with the adoption of bronze and iron bits in Mongolia, which gave riders much greater control over their horses—but meant that wolf teeth had to go.

“They’re adapting to new ways of riding and new ways of using the horse,” says Alan Outram, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom who studies horse domestication and wasn’t involved in the new research. “People innovated fairly quickly.”

 Without such innovations, world history might look a lot different. Metal bits enabled herders to use horses in war and for long distance travel, shaping Mongolia and its nomadic cultures in ways that ultimately led to the rise of Genghis Khan’s mounted army and the Mongol Empire that controlled most of Eurasia in the 13th century. “Horses absolutely transformed Mongolia into a cultural and economic center of the world,” Taylor says.

This content was originally published here.

Instagram Influencer, 22, Claims Learning About WW2 Would Hit Millennials’ Mental Health

Freddie Bentley is a British reality television celebrity who is mainly known for his appearance on the reality game show “The Circle” and for his Instagram feed.

He has recently come under fire online after appearing on the TV show Good Morning Britain and arguing an unpopular opinion.

In the piece on GMB, Bentley states that children should not have to learn about WW2. In his opinion, too much time is spent on the subject. He is concerned that the emphasis on the destruction and killing of war is too much for young minds.

“I don’t want anyone to think I’m being disrespectful,” the 22-year-old celebrity said. He added, “I remember learning it as a child thinking, ‘Oh my god it’s so intense.’”

I agree with Freddie Bentley, I once watched Saving Private Ryan and still have flashbacks. Let’s stop this madness #freddiebentley #SaturdayThoughts #Millennialshttps://t.co/HkVelD11ko

— Millennial Mike (@MillennialMike3) November 2, 2019

People on Twitter, of course, did think that he was being extremely disrespectful. Many pointed out the number of young men who were killed fighting in that war so that people like Bentley would have the freedom to become whatever they wanted. Others pointed out that learning about the war was necessary in order to prevent another one in the future.

Lt. Jack Reynolds (aged 22) was famously photographed after being taken prisoner during the Battle of Arnhem. In the photo, he is seen giving the “two-fingered” salute to the German photographer.
Lt. Jack Reynolds (aged 22) was famously photographed after being taken prisoner during the Battle of Arnhem. In the photo, he is seen giving the “two-fingered” salute to the German photographer.

Many on Twitter pointed out Bentley’s age and how he seemed to fit the stereotype of millennial entitlement.

Bentley suggested that school should avoid potentially furthering any mental health issues children may be facing by forcing them to confront the realities of war at a young age. He recommended spending less time teaching the history of wars and more time explaining Brexit or helping children learn personal finance.

Most online commentators seemed to agree that schools could teach additional subjects but rejected his suggestion that these new subjects come at the expense of teaching about WW2.

@piersmorgan Please get GMB to send Freddie Bentley to Auschwitz to educate this boy along with Michael Wilshaw as https://t.co/cOPYquujcE’s hoping Piers

— Janet Turner (@chocibun) November 1, 2019

Bentley’s comments occurred during a segment on GMB in which he debated the question of whether students should be taught about WW2.

The segment followed an episode of the British version of The Apprentice television show. In the episode, one of the teams had difficulty with an assigned task because none of them were familiar with when WWII began.

Many people took to social media after that episode to decry the state of the British education system.

Shocked for 2nd time this week, Apprentice candidates not knowing when WW11 ended and now that famous celebrity Freddie Bentley on GMB stating WW1 and WW2 should not be taught in schools, @GMB @Lord_Sugar

— Colin Richards (@scoobybloobird) November 1, 2019

Bentley came to fame as a contestant on the reality game show, The Circle. Contestants on that show lived each in their own apartment. Their only contact with the other contestants and with the outside world was through a specially-made social network app known as The Circle.

Contestants could choose to represent themselves truthfully or make up a new identity to show the other contestants.

Each week, contestants were put through a sort of popularity contest with the least popular member among the group being kicked off the show. The winner received 50,000GBP.

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Bentley came out publicly as gay on that show though he chose to present himself as straight to the other contestants. Since the show, he has been popular on Instagram.

This content was originally published here.