This morning, the eighth edition of the Ratón Pérez Tooth Collection Campaign was presented at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH): this is to take place from September 20th to 24th, with the collaboration of the Fundación “la Caixa” and the Fundación Caja de Burgos, in addition to the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECYT).
This initiative by the Dental Anthropology Group and the Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit (UCC+i), which began in Burgos in 2014, has as its objective to continue expanding the CENIEH milk tooth collection to conduct paleoanthropological and forensic research.
Nowadays, this citizen science project reaches all over Spain, although this eighth edition will take place at fewer locations due to Covid-19, so that from ten autonomous regions there are now seven: Asturias, Andalucía, Aragón, Baleares, Castilla y León, Galicia and Madrid, which will join in with collecting teeth in September and November, to coincide with European Researchers' Night and Science Week.
The institutions where the 2021 campaign will be conducted are: the Escuela Universitaria ADEMA, in Palma de Mallorca, the CSIC Office in Galicia, the Fábrica de Luz. Museo de la Energía in Ponferrada (León), the Universidad de Córdoba, the Universidad de Jaén, the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, the Universidad de Oviedo and the Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza campuses of the Universidad de Zaragoza.
All persons interested in donating teeth to the collection should make an appointment and collect the participation form and information from CENIEH reception between 9 am and 8 pm.
In exchange for their dental pieces, donors will receive a souvenir and a certificate of having assisted "Ratón Pérez" and the CENIEH Dental Anthropology Group, as well as merchandise from the Casita Museo del Ratón Pérez in Madrid.
During the press conference, the project coordinators, Marina Martínez de Pinillos, a researcher at the Dental Anthropology Group, and Chitina Moreno-Torres, in charge of the UCC+i, emphasized that it is very important to state the exact age (years and months) the donor was when the tooth they are to submit to the collection fell out.
Thanks to the successive tooth collection campaigns, the CENIEH has created the Ratón Pérez Collection, a comparative sample of milk teeth of worldwide importance for conducting research into human evolution and forensic anthropology.
As of today, this collection, which was publicized to the scientific community last August in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology
, holds almost 3,000 dental pieces which have been used in several studies published in scientific journals, and form part of other research still under way. On this point, Marina Martínez de Pinillos highlights the importance of public participation “as without the donations we cannot carry out this kind of research”.