North Texas Dentistry Volume 9 Issue 4 2019 ISSUE 4 DE | Page 5

Texas A&M College of Dentistry Digging His Discovery Wang’s work at Chinese archaeological site yields elongated skulls by Kathleen Green Pothier Dr. Qian Wang’s shared discovery of shaped skulls in China is evidence of early head modification. Dr. Qian Wang, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sci- ences, is not only the college’s Teacher of the Year, but his work at an archaeologi- cal site in China has led to the discovery of more than two dozen elongated skulls dating back between 5,000 and 12,000 years. The findings point to evidence of skull shaping. Wang, a paleoanthropolo- gist, has been working at the Houtao- muga site with Quanchao Zhang, a bioarchaeologist with Jilin University in Changchun, China. “This is the earliest confirmed discovery of intentional head modification in the world,” Wang says. “If this practice began in East Asia, it likely spread west- ward to the Middle East, Russia and Europe through the steppes as well as eastward across the Bering Land Bridge to the Americas. It may have originated independently in different places at dif- ferent times. “Though the exact meaning of this prac- tice is still unknown, our evidence sug- gests that it is most likely related to the high socioeconomic status of these indi- viduals or their families. The emergence of this practice could be a sign of the start of stratification of the social structure among pre-modern population or the beginning of socioeconomic disparity,” he says. Wang initiated the Global Record of Health Project – Asia Module in May 2018. He leads an international team to systematically document the health, development and disease status of human skeletal remains from historic human populations in the past 10,000 years in Asia. Through this work, they seek to examine how human health sta- tus changes over time and varies with environment, economic mode, climate change, social disturbances and lifestyle. Texas A&M College of Dentistry (formerly Baylor College of Dentistry) in Dallas is a part of Texas A&M University and Texas A&M Health Science Center. Founded in 1905, the College of Dentistry is a nationally recognized center for oral health sciences education, research, specialized patient care and continuing dental education. Learn more at or follow @TAMUdental. Kathleen Green Pothier is communications coor- dinator at Texas A&M College of Dentistry. She previously worked at Positively Proofed, where she wrote and edited content for corporate clients, pub- lications and motivational speakers. She also was a writer and editor at The Dallas Morning News, Houston Post and Beaumont Enterprise. Pothier has a journalism degree from the University of Nebraska. | NORTH TEXAS DENTISTRY 5