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Old Teeth Tell New Stories: One archaeologist created a prehistoric GPS for tracking ancient humans.

If you want to retrace the life of a person who lived thousands of years ago, than you need to start at the beginning.

You don’t just have teeth in your mouth, but you have around 32 fossils that tell a microscopic history of health. Scientists have found that even the old, discarded, not-so-pearly whites of people that lived thousands of years ago tell a story about them, too.As the hardest substance in the human body, tooth enamel is different. It offers a window into life histories.

When our tooth enamel forms during childhood, it incorporates elements from the local environment, including the dust we breathe from rock layers beneath our feet. On the Other hand, Bones change every few years. Our bones soak up materials around the area we’re buried like a sponge, as we decompose.

Ashley Sharpe, doctoral student of University of Florida, created a map for determining the native place of ancient people and animals in Central America. Archaeologists will use the map to match lead found in bedrock from specific locations to a curious source: millennia-old teeth.

Pinpointing birth and death locations will help Sharpe track and other archaeologists track the movement of prehistoric Maya and potentially solve mysteries surrounding the civilization’s origins and eventual demise.

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Previously, UF forensic anthropologists used lead analysis to trace the birthplace of unidentified homicide victims. UF archaeologists have also used lead to track ancient humans in the Indus Valley Civilization.

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Charitz

The author Charitz

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