Here we present a detailed palaeopathological study of the hominin mandible D2600 recovered at the Dmanisi site, Republic of Georgia. The Dmanisi assemblage represents the earliest evidence of hominins outside Africa with an age of 1.8 Ma. D2600 is the holotype of Homo georgicus species and its taxonomic assignment is still under debate. Our study reveals severe and unusual dental wear accompanied of extensive root exposure and dental axial migration, periapical abscesses and enamel fractures. In addition, there is evidence of post-eruptive tooth rotation and temporomandibular arthropathy. We propose that the wear pattern observed in this individual is related to a diet with a high intake of fibrous and abrasive foods such as fruits and plants, as it is usually recorded in chimpanzees and gorillas and unlike the wear pattern observed in other Homo specimens of our comparative sample. The rounded occlusal surfaces and highly polished labio-lingual surfaces of D2600 anterior teeth could be mainly the consequence of pre- and/or para-masticatory activities such as gripping and stripping. This type of food would be also the origin of the highly cupped occlusal morphology of the posterior dentition in combination with relatively slight approximal attrition. However, the lesions exhibited by D2600 have not significantly altered the morphology of the mandible and do not prevent a proper taxonomic assessment.
Palaeopathology, Homo georgicus, Dmanisi site, Dental wear, Compensatory eruption, Periodontal disease, Cysts