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Do You Have a Mental Foramen? You Might be Part Neanderthal

Thursday, November 10, 2011
A mental foramen is a small hole in the mandible whose purpose is to allow passage of nerves and vessels to the brain and probably also to relieve tension during chewing and gnawing. It has been identified as a sign of archaic humans, including Neanderthals. Do you have one?

I asked my dentist to look at my X rays on file and he confirmed I have a mental foramen. He has often told me I have "powerful" jaws. It is unclear whether there are normally two of them and what their typical positions are.

In a previous blog post, "Neanderthals in America," we discussed mental foramina (the plural of foramen), occipital bulges or bumps and other archaic skeletal traits. Melungeons seem to have many of these ancestral marks.

Do you? You might want to check with your dentist.

Studies show that Europeans have, on average, between 1 and 4 percent Neanderthal genes from an early out-of-Africa interbreeding period in the Middle East. Science has not decided to consider Neanderthals a separate species or sub-species in relation to H. sapiens sapiens (humans).

DNA Consultants offers an estimate of Neanderthal ancestry based on matches with other archaic humans called Neanderthal Index.

Line drawing of Neanderthal male ©DNA Consultants.

More information about Melungeons
Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Southern Appalachia
Melungeon Studies
Melungeon Match


Anonymous commented on 27-Dec-2011 06:06 PM

Apparently everybody has two mental foramina, one on each jaw, but the position and size are different for different people.

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