Emily Moes Awarded Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Posted: Apr 13, 2022 - 12:00pm
Emily Moes has been awarded a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Her work is entitled, Association between Child dental Fluctuating Asymmetry and Material Environmental Conditions.
Studies show that health and lifespan relate to experiences in utero, demonstrating the connection between maternal gestational stress and adult health outcomes. The first years of life, including time spent in utero, are profoundly influenced by mothers, since the earliest stages of development unfold in direct interaction with maternal biology. This relationship is considered invisible in the bioarchaeological record, limiting research on factors that influence health in the past. This project will test the utility of dental fluctuating asymmetry (FA), a measure of developmental instability, as a bioarchaeological marker of maternal influences on offspring health. FA quantifies random left-right side differences in body structures that should be identical in the absence of stress. Because deciduous (baby) and permanent teeth form during prenatal and postnatal life, respectively, dental FA captures a signal of stress during these distinct periods of development. Using dental casts and health history records from child participants of a longitudinal growth study, I will test for relationships between dental FA and aspects of maternal/gestational environments. Records include information about maternal/gestational environmental factors, birth conditions, and infant health. This project will validate a new measure of maternal stress, which will contribute to research on intergenerational health in ancient societies.