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The overall crown diameters, cusp heights and intercusp distances were measured for the maxillary permanent first and second premolars and first, second and third molars from a number of different human ethnic groups. Although univariate analysis showed no consistent trends for the tooth dimensions of one ethnic group to be significantly different compared with others, multivariate, i.e. canonical, analysis demonstrated that the teeth of modern caucasoids differed significantly compared with those from negroids, mongoloids, australoids and Anglo-saxon and sixteenth to eighteenth century caucasoids—there being little significant contrast between the latter ethnic groups.