Age-at-Formation and Duration of Linear Enamel Hypoplasia and Accentuated (Pathological) Striae in Ancient, Modern, and Forensic Populations as an Indicator of Differential Developmental Stress
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Under the premise that individuals can embody their sociocultural environment, this project was undertaken to analyze differences in age-at-formation and duration of linear enamel hypoplasia (LEH) and accentuated striae (AS) in the mandibular canines of pre-Hispanic Maya individuals from Belize, migrants who died crossing the Texas-Mexico border, and modern American individuals from the Texas State Donated Skeletal Collection (TXSTDSC). LEH and AS, as representative of stress events, were measured using a scanning electron microscope and DinoLiteTM from the line to the cervico-enamel junction. These measurements were placed into equations for age calculations. Age-at-formation and duration of stress episodes were statistically analyzed using ANOVA and t-tests. Results show that smaller Maya sites experienced fewer and shorter stress episodes compared to larger, more dense sites, female migrants experienced the first stress events at an earlier age than their male counterparts, and male donors from the TXSTDSC experienced first stress episodes at an earlier age than females, although this may be due to sample size. These results are discussed in terms of the life course and bodily context. The ancient Maya cities were very population dense, exposure of female migrants to systemic and structural violence can be a factor in age-at-formation differences, and in general, differences in weaning practices can contribute to the formation of LEH and AS, with weaning practices differing within varying social contexts.