Bone Quiz 17

Tree in front of the Astana Opera HouseAs winter insidiously unfurls its carpet of waist-deep snow in Astana, the city greets the season by rolling out a vast array of holiday decorations. Lamp posts are adorned with wire-framed silhouettes of candles and ribbons, massive fake fir trees are erected in front of city landmarks, and office buildings are decked in festive banners that proclaim the celebrations in both Russian and Kazakh. At night, the city blazes with flashes of pulsating lights as electric trees are lit up in every color of the rainbow. Real trees are draped in strings of lights that trail through the branches in an ombre arc of colors, twinkling rhythmically or cascading from light to darkness in a fluid pattern that mimics falling water.

Astana Christmas Decorations

 In spite of the similarity to traditional American yuletide fare, the predominantly Muslim city is actually celebrating the coming of the New Year, rather than Christmas. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed any excuse to venture out into the -15˚C outdoors and take in some fresh air and sunlight before the winter solstice reared its dark and ugly head.

Bayterek New Year Tree

Well-wishes for the New YearKeeping traditional Christmas decorations (and color-schemes) in mind, I’m giving you the gift of a very simple bone quiz this holiday season. All you have to answer are the following  two questions:

1. Right off of the bat, what strikes you as unusual about the lower lateral permanent incisor pictured below?
2. What explanation can you offer for the unusual aspects of its appearance? As a hint, the reason for the unique appearance of the element has both taphonomic and cultural dimensions, so try to touch on both in your explanation.


Buccal View

Lingual View

Occlusal View
Occlusal View

Happy holidays, everybody! Wherever you are in the world, and whatever you’re celebrating, may your New Year be filled with family, festivities and exorbitant amounts of food.

Tree close-up
Image Credits: All photos of teeth were taken at the Museo de Jaén in summer 2014.

Answers below the jump:


Answers Bone Quiz 17

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2 Responses to Bone Quiz 17

  1. Roberto says:

    I’ll give a try: the green color can be the trace of some metals like copper or bronze that came in contact with the tooth. I’ve seen pictures of dental bridges that anchored teeth in place made with such metals. Also, some cultures influenced by greek/roman mythology used to provide money to the dead beloved in order to pay Charon for the transportation across the infernal river. And they used to put it into his/her mouth.


  2. Pingback: Bone Broke Year in Review | Bone Broke

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