Shannon Tushingham
Shannon Tushingham

A team of scientists including researchers from Washington State University has shown for the first time that nicotine residue can be extracted from plaque, also known as “dental calculus”, on the teeth of ancient tobacco users.

“The ability to identify nicotine and other plant-based drugs in ancient dental plaque could help us answer longstanding questions about the consumption of intoxicants by ancient humans,” said Shannon Tushingham, a WSU assistant professor of anthropology and co-author of a new study on the research in the Journal of Archaeological Science Reports. “For example, it could help us determine whether all members of society used tobacco, or only adults, or only males or females.”

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