European Researchers’ Night 2020

Have you ever wondered what are the bumps you feel while passing your tongue on your teeth? Have you ever wondered why teeth have the shape they have?

Dr. Marina Lozano and Dr. Beatriz Gamarra during the workshop of European Researchers’ Night

With these general questions we start our virtual participation at the European Researchers’ Night, a public event that takes place in 300 cities of 30 European countries addressed to disseminate science and bringing researchers closer to the general public of all ages. The Night provides researchers the opportunity to showcase the diversity of science and its impact on citizens’ daily lives, and to stimulate interest in research careers.

The University of Rovira i Virgili, in collaboration with other research centres from the area, coordinates the activities that take place at the Tarragona’s demarcation area, which this year includes 30 virtual workshops, several talks at High Schools and other scientific activities around the Tarragona city. The mentioned workshops, including our participation, can be seen through Catalan European Researcher’s Night project website.

In this context, our workshop titledLes dents, testimoni de la nostra evolució (Our teeth, testimony of our evolution), organized by Dr. Marina Lozano and myself, tried to explain the shape of our teeth by employing everyday tools that we regularly use for manipulating different types of food. For example:

Would you use sharp/fine scissors to crush the shell of a walnut? Or those scissors to crush and grind the walnut?

If you want to conserve your scissors, you would probably not!

By employing these comparisons, we tried to explain dental shape adaptations from different living primates and past human ancestors, such as Paranthropus boisei, and explain how their teeth, as well as the masticatory structures associated, inform us about the dietary adaptations these species have or might have.

This workshop was also broadcasted in the local TV, TAC12 (minute 17:30). It was a really nice experience!

We used Catalan language (apologies for non-Catalan speakers). Hope you get the main idea!

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