Scientists at New York University have discovered that the material that makes up the roots of human teeth is a kind of chronicle of our lives. Although the teeth themselves do not change after formation, a specific bone tissue, called cement, is constantly layering around their roots. And in these layers, scientists have found clear traces of important biological events that have influenced human life.
The idea of treating the layers of cement as a data warehouse came from comparisons with the rings of a tree, which bear signs of key events in his life. To test the hypothesis, scientists collected 47 teeth from 15 volunteers aged 25 to 69 years. The small sample size is due to the complexity - people with a well-documented background were needed to verify the real facts. The main parameter was the time of the event, which was calculated with an accuracy of up to a month.
These dark lines appeared around the same time the baby was born to the owner of the teeth.
It was not difficult to study the layers of cement, since the periods of crisis are noticeably distinguished in them by their thickness and color. For example, the first bright trace of one person appeared at the age of 17 - at this time he moved from the village to the city. In other cases, the layers indicated the time spent in prison, the birth of children, the onset of menopause, a serious illness, etc.
In the future, studying teeth precisely as an archive of events in a person's life will certainly bring a lot of benefits. Although there are difficulties - while scientists can only find out the approximate date of the formation of the layer, they do not know what event caused its appearance. But this is a groundwork for the future, when a detailed analysis of the structure and chemical composition of substances in the cement layer will help to learn about the state of human health, to make him a confident diagnosis in the past.