Shovel teeth?

I read recently (in my e-mail from a genealogy mailing list) that you can tell if you have any Native Americans in you family tree by the shape of your two front teeth. Feel the back of your front teeth and, if they feel curved instead of coming straight down out of your gums, then you’re part Native American. Dentists call this trait “shovelling.”

Does anyone know if this is true? Is shovel teeth an indicator of Native American blood? FTR, the backs of my two front teeth do feel curved and, so far as I know, I do have some Native American ancestors. But, until I read that e-mail, I assumed everyone’s teeth were curved. What’s the straight dope?

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

The Kat House
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Dunno, my teeth are curved on the backside and our family has been traced back to Ireland. The first person from our clan stepped on the shores of what would become the United States in about 1740. I don’t know where the native Indian blood would have come from.

Additionally, I think every woman whose mouth I’ve had my tongue in had curves in the back of those teeth.

It’s a trait also found in Asians and Swedes, among other groups. Probably not a good trait to use as a guide for genealogical research.

I wondered if it would be prominent among Asians if Native Americans migrated from there.

According to one of those messages, the shovel tooth trait is also indicative of Melungeon bloodlines.

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

The Kat House
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Yup, I’ve got it, and I’m of Swedish ancestry. (A bit of Irish mixed in, too).
Prairie Rose

If you’re not part of the solution you’re just scumming up the bottom of the beaker.

Yep. Curved.

Mothers’ side:

Fathers’ side:
Pennsylvania Dutch


Remember, you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish!

“Like the front teeth of their ancestors and certain modern peoples (especially those from eastern Asia), the upper incisors of the Neanderthals were built up by ridges on the sides. This trait is known as ‘shovelled’ or shovel-shape, while the back teeth often had additional cusps.”
In Search of the Neanderthals
Stringer & Gamble

So it isn’t just being curved in the back, it’s having ridges. Hmm. No ridges here, but I’m still pretty sure I have some Indian genes. I’ll have to share this with the mail list.

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

The Kat House
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My teeth feel curved, and I don’t have any Native American ancestors. My father’s side is Irish, and my mother’s is Polish (although there might be Russian, Czech, or other Eastern European blood in there).

–It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.

Your “letter” club may have a slightly different meaning for shoveled. I tossed that in for the Asian to Indian link. ??
you may go back even further than you think.
Same for you. You may be a through back to Neanderthal’s (wasn’t only the Asian group ) of Europe.
I think the dates for Neanderthals are roughly 400,000 up to 30,000 years ago.

I think I have what y’all are discribing.
On my mother’s side, I’m 1/8 Cherokee, 7/8 British.
On my father’s side, (so I’m told) I’m Dutch, Irish and Dog. And there is also this horse thief or something that no one want to talk about.

To “compare” shovel teeth to your own is impossible (unless you have your tongue in some one else’s mouth). We all have teeth curved on the inside - but the trait is much more prounounced among Native Americans and Asians. It is a trait that helped point the way to the now proven genetic link. New eveidence is showing that ALL Amerinds are more closely related than previously thought (used to be there were thought to be 3 distinct migrations) - the current genetic diversity may be a function of a longer presence here than previously thought…

I love how a totally uncontested issue in anthropology (there’s no debate on shovel teeth, all parties agree that they are an Amerind/Asian genetic trait) becomes a debate here with Swedes and Irish chiming in.

Its funny how people know with 100% certainty their blood line. :slight_smile:

As part of a genome project in New York City, people or the street were stopped and asked if they would like a free DNA test. Most of the DNA results did not match the oral tradition. Commonly people that said the had Native American Blood actually had African admixture or no Native blood at all.

It makes sense to me, If Halle Berry said she were mainly Native American most would probably believe it. Considering 1/3 of people that self-identify as White have African ancestry, and approximately 40% of White Americans and Black Americans claim to have native blood yet only 1-2% of black and white have Native blood.

Only DNA can tell the true story. I recently took a dna test and found 3 ethnicities that nobody in my family was aware of.

Was one them Zombie? A lot of people think they descended from Native American Zombies, but tests show they only have European Zombie blood.

How specific is this test? Can it tell the difference between a Norwegian and a Swede, or the difference between a Navajo and an Apache?

Not to mention that sailor boy that his preacher father fancied a bit too much.

Sorry - the username reminded me of a high school book report.

I think the Dog ancestry will give you a weird tooth shape too.

Nah, canine teeth are pretty common.

I have teeth so strongly shoveled two dentists and my orthodontist commented on it. No Native AMerican ancestry I know of. My body is slim, with long, light bones. But I think my head is Neanderthal. Heavy brow ridge and cranial crest. I am thankful my forehead is fairly high and I am not bald. Otherwise, everyone would know.

I had to comment on this ignorance (and he’s not the only one in this thread guilty of it)…do you know how many ancestors you have going back that distance?

Let’s say that the average generational span is 25 years (could be argued anywhere from 20-30, I’m just splitting the difference). Going back to 1740 from 2000 (the year that quote was posted) would be 260 years and 10.4 generations. Lets round that down to 10 generations…that’s 1024 ancestors assuming none of the limbs on your family tree have “grow back together” (of course many likely have at some point, but the point remains that it’s much more than that 1 or 2 ancestors that stepped off that boat). Heck, go to 20 generations and now you’re talking over 1 million, 30…over a billion. Never think you know your whole ancestry. There’s always room to be surprised.