The Ratón Pérez Collection Reaches 4,000 Teeth In 2022

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This year, the Tooth Collection Campaign organized by the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), with the collaboration of the Fundación “la Caixa”, through Caixabank, and the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECYT), has gathered more than 400 milk teeth, meaning that the Ratón Pérez Collection has now surpassed 4000 dental pieces.

The objective of this initiative by the Dental Anthropology Group and the Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit (UCC+I), which began in Burgos in 2014, is to continue expanding the CENIEH milk tooth collection to conduct paleoanthropological and forensic research.

In 2022, this citizen science initiative took place in six Autonomous Regions, namely Andalucía, Aragón, Castilla y León, Galicia, Madrid and Murcia, while the following institutions collaborated: the Casa Museo del Ratón Pérez, the CSIC Office in Galicia, the Fábrica de Luz. Museo de la Energía in Ponferrada, the Universidad de Córdoba, the Universidad de Jaén, the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, and the Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza campuses of the Universidad de Zaragoza.

The majority of the pieces donated are incisors or canines because most of the donors are aged 6 to 10, when these dental pieces tend to fall out. “We miss having adolescents in these campaigns, and we need more molars because, from the evolutionary perspective, these pieces offer us more information”, comments Marina Martínez de Pinillos, scientific coordinator of the Ratón Pérez Project.

In parallel with the campaign, educational workshops are given so that the donors can learn about the research for which their teeth are used. “Thanks to these workshops, donors can see at first hand the large amount of information that can be gleaned from their teeth, while it also enables us to encourage healthy bucodental pieces from childhood”, says Chitina Moreno-Torres Rodríguez-Contreras, head of the UCC+I at the CENIEH.

2023 Campaign

In 2023, collecting teeth will continue throughout Spain, and it is hoped to extend it to other countries. Institutions from Argentina, Australia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic have already expressed interest. In addition, the RP Collection has its own website: https://www.coleccionratonperez.com/en, where it is also possible to collaborate with the campaigns.

“This will let us continue expanding the geographical scope of the endeavor to reach more people and obtain a sample of milk teeth which is as varied and representative as possible”, states Martínez de Pinillos.

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