On the Origins of the Dentist (With a Stone-Age Drill)

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Man's first known trip to the dentist occurred as early as 9,000 years ago, when at least nine people living in a Neolithic village in present-day Pakistan had holes drilled into their molars and survived the procedure, anthropologists reported yesterday.

The findings, which appear in the journal Nature, push back the dawn of dentistry by 4,000 years. The drilled molars, 11 in all, come from a sample of 300 individuals buried in graves at the Mehrgarh site in western Pakistan, believed to be the oldest Stone Age complex in the Indus River valley.

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