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Evo in the news: The recent roots of dental disease


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This news brief from March 2013 describes new research suggesting that human dietary changes associated with the invention of agriculture and the Industrial Evolution caused an epidemic of tooth decay and gum disease. This link between diet and oral health is an example of a mismatch to modernity a case in which a disease results from a modern lifestyle feature that our lineage has not experienced during the course of its evolutionary history.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

20 minutes

Teaching tips:
This article includes a set of discussion and extension questions for use in class. It also includes hints about related lessons that might be used in conjunction with this one. Get more tips for using Evo in the News articles in your classroom.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Some traits of organisms are not adaptive.

  • Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.

  • As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life, for example in agriculture, biodiversity and conservation biology, and medicine and health.

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