Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/88787
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Type: Journal article
Title: The development of the mammalian dentition as a complex adaptive system
Author: Brook, A.H.
Hughes, T.E.
Townsend, G.
Smith, R.N.
O'Donnell, M.D.B.
Citation: Dental Anthropology, 2013; 26(3):3-6
Publisher: Dental Anthropology Association
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 1096-9411
2769-822X
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Alan H. Brook, Toby E. Hughes, Grant C. Townsend, Richard N. Smith, and Matthew D. Brook O, Donnell
Abstract: General characteristics of Complex Adaptive Systems include self-adaptation and or-ganisation, emergence, multitasking, robustness, critical phases, diversity and compatibility with such statistical models as Thresholds and Scale Free Networks. The aim was to investigate wheth-er dental development exhibits the general and statistical characteristics of a Complex Adaptive System, by examining data on normal and abnor-mal dental development. The findings were that self-adaptation and organisation occur while inter-actions between genes, epigenetic and environ-mental factors lead to the emergence of cells, tooth germs and mineralised teeth. Multitasking occurs as signalling pathways act simultaneously and reiteratively during initiation and morphogenesis. Tooth germs that do not attain a critical threshold during development may undergo apoptosis. Di-versity is evident in tooth number, size, shape and mineralisation. Statistical investigation shows that males have significantly larger teeth and higher prevalences of megadontia and supernumerary teeth (p<0.05), supporting Brook’s Threshold Model which is further developed here to include shape. Image Analysis of tooth dimensions showed they followed a Power Law distribution, with the first 8 of 34 factors in upper lateral inci-sors accounting for 94.4% of the total variation. In conclusion, the development of the dentition shows the general and statistical characteristics of a Complex Adaptive System.
Keywords: Complex Systems; Networks; Dental Development
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
DOI: 10.26575/daj.v26i3.46
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Dentistry publications

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