Darwin Day - Timothy Bromage on Teeth and Their Evolutionary Significance
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 08:48PM

Teeth Are Now Giving The Orders: Darwinian Selection For Biological Rhythms And Your Life History Is All About To Change


Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 2:00 PM

Baruch Performing Arts Center, 17 Lexington Ave, Room 306 (The “Skylight Room”), NY

General admission: $5, free for NYCS members. Bitcoin accepted. You can register here or on site.

Timothy BromageNYU School of Dentistry Professor Timothy Bromage, Ph.D., demonstrates how the evolution of teeth plays an important role in shaping human life.

The adaptation shared by all light-sensitive organisms is the to and fro of their biology in phase with daily astronomical rhythms (e..g., oscillations of metabolism, physiology, behavior), manifesting as circadian rhythms. Dental hard tissues reflect these cycles, but unbeknownst to most people is that they also provide longer periodic signals. The genomics of daily biological rhythms has in recent decades received much attention, but surprisingly little is known of long period rhythms for which the teeth, it turns out, are the story tellers. But more than the story, more than just instructions, teeth reflect strict commands handed down from the genome that define how life is and works; everything from the size of a kidney to lifespan, and everything in between. 

Professor Bromage directs the Hard Tissue Research Unit (HTRU), a mineralized tissue preparation and imaging technology development laboratory of the Department of Biomaterials and Biomimetics, NYUCD. Recently, he has reported on a hitherto unrecognized chronobiological rhythm in bone microstructure that corresponds to a previously observed but enigmatic enamel formation rhythm in mammals, establishing the basis for understanding how chronobiology and organismal life history evolution are integrated.

Professor Bromage supplements laboratory research with African Late Pliocene paleontological fieldwork of significance to human evolutionary research, the surveys of which have recovered the oldest known representative of the human genus, Homo rudolfensis, 2.4 Ma, as well as its contemporary, Paranthropus boisei, from the shores of Lake Malawi. Fieldwork on Late Pleistocene pygmy elephant and pygmy hippopotamus localities in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are also ongoing, which provides a natural experiment of relevance to interpretations of modern human dental reduction.

Professor Bromage is recipient of the 2010 Max Planck Prize in the Life Sciences (paleobiomics; emphasis in Human Evolution), is Honorary Professor of La Salle University, Madrid, Spain, and is Honorary Research Fellow of the Department of Paleoanthropology, Senckenberg Research Institute, Frankfurt, Germany.

Article originally appeared on New York City Skeptics (http://nycskeptics.org/).
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