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6. Osteology.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTHROP 1AA3
Professor
Tracy Prowse
Semester
Winter

Description
Week 6 Readings 09/02/2013 8:19:00 PM Pages 194-108 Human Osteology and Skeletal Biology Human osteologists study osteology – the branch of anatomy that deals with the structure and function of bones  ability to reconstruct biological profile or osteobiography  applied to medico-legal context, this is forensic anthropology Biological Profile  Able to reconstruct age at death, sex, indicators of biological ancestors, and estimate of living stature  meant to shed light on the person’s way of life and what happened over the span of their life Age  Can be determined through teeth (baby and adult teeth change at a certain age), long bones of arms and legs grow prominences  lengths and proportions of bones change in predictable ways as children grow Sex  females have a pelvis with a large birth canal, affecting the shape of the hip bone and sacrum  Males have larger and more robust teeth and skull Stature  formulas developed by biological anthropologists can calculate the size of a human’s length from estimates obtained from skeletal remains Archaeological Populations Bioarchaeology – field that deals with the excavation and analysis of human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts Palaeodemography – takes the osteobiographical data for all the individuals in an archaeological sample and analyzes those data to learn something about a past population  key features include age, sexual structure of the population, examination of the rate of infant and childhood mortality  principal aims of paleodemographic investigations include the determination of trends in human life span and mortality and the size/structure of past populations Health  palaeopathology – analysis of evidence of ancient disease o confined to trauma and chronic conditions o establishes populational patterns of illness and injury o looks at biological and sociocultural impacts of political and military conquests and territorial incursions Ancestry  How human history changed by genes (via inbreeding); how the people in the world are becoming more alike  Populational approach has replaced radical approach o recognizes all levels of biological difference incorporate or set of individuals can be indentified by a specified trait or traits  Helps biological anthropologists to generate hypotheses on cultural data such as continuity from prehistoric to historic groups, or social
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