Toothless survival needed a helping hand.
© E. Trinkaus
New-found jawbone hints at 200 thousand years of care in the community.
Care for the elderly and disabled may have been around a lot longer than we thought. The discovery of a jawbone scarred by severe gum disease hints that a toothless early human got by with a little help from his friends.
Minus teeth, unable to chew his or her food, the owner of the deformed jawbone nonetheless survived "for at least several months," estimates anthropologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Chewing had worn the bone that had re-grown to fill the tooth sockets1.
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