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Posts Tagged ‘Biological anthropology’

The diagnosis and context of a facial deformity from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Spofforth, North Yorkshire [en]

søndag den 29. september 2013

The diagnosis and context of a facial deformity from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Spofforth, North Yorkshire by Elizabeth Craig-Atkins and Geoff Craig. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (2012)

An individual aged between 6 and 7 years at death from a 7th to 9th century cemetery at Village Farm, Spofforth, North Yorkshire, presented significant pathological swelling to the left facial bones. The ectocranial surface was bulbous and uneven, and the expanded diploë was densely packed with a mass of thick trabeculae. Radiographic and histological analysis, in combination with the macroscopically observed pathological changes, supported the differential diagnosis of fibrous dysplasia. The skeletal changes to the left face and jaw would have resulted in a significant facial deformity. Examples of individuals with physical impairments or disfigurements from Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are rare.

Nevertheless, it seems that a significant proportion are afforded unusual burial practices more often associated with deviancy, for example, at the edge of cemeteries or on a reversed orientation, seemingly indicating that their diminished physical capabilities or altered physical appearance had a detrimental effect on their social status. The child from Spofforth was, however, buried in a normative manner, extended, supine and in a plain earth-cut grave, with no indication that their facial deformity had prompted unusual funerary provision. This example of facial disfigurement contributes to a growing corpus of potentially disabled individuals from early medieval England.

Click here to read this article from the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology

Four methods of trepanation demonstrated on a single human skull [en]

søndag den 29. september 2013

Dr. Thomas Wilson Parry (1866-1945) owned this particular skull, which he used to perform practical research on trepanation. He performed roughly 50 trepanation experiments on the skulls of the more and less recent deceased, using in this case a shark’s tooth, a flint-pointed bow drill, a flint scraper, and obsidian to achieve the variety of holes. Parry published Trephination of the Living Human Skull in Prehistoric Times in 1923, and an amusing ballad about the practice in 1918.

Read more here.

How to side the fibula using just the shaft [da]

lørdag den 13. april 2013

Correct identification of the fibula can be tricky. These notes by slipstreamborne might provide some help in case of confusion:

Ah, the fibula. Wonkiest of the long bones. I could never side the fuckers without extensive consultation of my osteo notes or keep the proximal and distal ends straight until a TA of mine showed me this trick, which has the awesome benefit of working both with whole fibulae and any shaft fragment (!!!!!!!) that includes part of the distal third or so of the shaft. AND you can do it by touch, which is a double bonus if you’re more tactile and shape oriented in your siding like me. AND IT WORKS UPSIDE DOWN, so you’re not completely fucked if you can’t figure out which end is up.


Okay, see that diagonal line there on the lateral view on the right? And how it defines a roughly triangular surface of bone just proximal to the distal end? That is the triangular subcutaneous area of the fibula and it is your new best friend.


(See T.D. White knows what I’m talking about.)

The key point here is that this very rough right triangle tapers towards the same direction that the bone is from. Just follow it with your eyes or your fingers, base to top. This one is a right, so it points up and to the right.




And if you have the bone upside down, you can still follow that diagonal line from the base to the top and it will point towards the side the bone is from.


So even if you have a professor who likes to hide bits of bones in boxes and make you identify and side them without looking, FEAR THE FIBULA NOT! Go forth and side it like a champ.

Source: slipstreamborne

Open sources for age determination of human skeletal remains [da]

mandag den 11. marts 2013

This should keep you busy for a while - a bunch of interesting links via theolduvaigorge:

Age estimation from the sternal end of the rib
Age estimation from the sternal end of the rib


søndag den 10. marts 2013

This should keep you busy for a while - a bunch of interesting links via theolduvaigorge:

Open sources for age determination of human skeletal remains:

Age estimation of children from prehistoric Southeast Asia: are the dental formation methods used appropriate?

Variability of the Pattern of Aging on the Human Skeleton: Evidence from Bone Indicators and Implications on Age at Death Estimation

Age Estimation From the Auricular Surface of the Ilium: A Revised Method

Estimation of Age in Adolescents—The Basilar Synchondrosis

Three Dimensional Quantitative Analyses of Human Pubic Symphyseal Morphology: Can Current Limitations of Skeletal Aging Methods Be Resolved

Juvenile ageing methods in the Caribbean archipelago

The Coronal Pulp Cavity Index: A Forensic Tool for Age Determination in Human Adult

Estimating age at death of humans from toothwear

Sex Differences and Aging of the Vertebral Column

Forensic aspects of foetal and neonatal skeletons

Quantitative analyses of human pubic symphyseal morphology using three dimensional data: the potential utility for aging adult human skeletons

A Bayesian Approach to the Estimation of the Age of Humans from Tooth Development and Wear

Age estimation from teeth [da]

lørdag den 3. november 2012

Eruption of deciduous (baby or milk) teeth and permanent (adult) teeth occurs at fairly regular intervals during the subadult years of development (see the figure above, deciduous teeth are shaded). Therefore, age estimation of subadults based dental eruption is quite accurate.

Click image to enlarge

While tooth wear and permanent tooth loss can occur in subadults, these degenerative changes are usually associated with adults. Loss of permanent teeth and accompanying bone resorption of the alveolar bone of the maxilla and/or mandible are often associated with old age. Tooth wear or dental attrition most often occurs in adults, but the age of onset depends on diet and other environmental factors. This process leads to loss of outer white tooth enamel and exposure of the yellowish dentine of the pulp cavity, especially on the cusps of the teeth. The older an individual is, the more dentine is exposed due to tooth wear.

Image is scanned from Tim D. White, Michael T. Black & Pieter A. Folkens: Human Osteology, Academic Press, 3 ed. (2011)

Cribra Orbitalia [en]

lørdag den 27. oktober 2012

The porosities seen here in the orbital roof is cribra orbitalia, which is one among the most frequent pathological lesions seen in ancient juvenile human skeletons.

Chronic iron-deficiency anemia has been widely accepted as the probable cause of this condition. This iron-deficiency-anemia hypothesis is however inconsistent with recent hematological research that shows that iron deficiency per se cannot sustain the massive red blood cell production that causes the marrow expansion responsible for these lesions.

The source of the picture: kabwe1:

NESPOS – open source information about Pleistocene humans [da]

tirsdag den 5. juni 2012

NESPOS is an open source information platform about Pleistocene humans, providing detailed information about important sites, their analytical results, archaeological findings and a selection of literary quotes. Moreover it is a repository where archaeologists and paleoanthropologists can exchange their research results and ideas by a protected Wiki-based collaboration platform with a continuously growing sample of 3D scanned human fossils and artefacts. The only problem? It’s not quite for free!