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July 4, 1977

Paleopathological Diagnosis and Interpretation: Bone Diseases in Ancient Human Populations

Author Affiliations

Paleopathology Association Detroit

JAMA. 1977;238(1):66. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280010066030

Interest in disease in ancient times has increased dramatically in the past decade. One difficulty has been a shortage of textbooks to supply up-to-date information. This present work by Steinbock is, therefore, a welcome addition to the library of the paleopathologist, especially because it deals with the kind of tissue most available for study today—bones from the past.

The writing is straightforward and simple, the diagrams are informative, the photographs are carefully selected and clearly printed. The author has not been afraid to take a position on debatable issues, and in general I think that his conclusions are sound. For example, in the chapter on anemia, in which the etiology of porotic hyperostosis is discussed, he comes down firmly on the side of nutritional anemia, in most instances, as against thalassemia. By coincidence, the Paleopathology Association held a symposium on this subject in November 1976, in Detroit, and the majority