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November 5, 1982

Atlas of Human Paleopathology

Author Affiliations

University of Tennessee Knoxville University of South Dakota Sioux Falls


by Michael R. Zimmerman and Marc A. Kelley, 220 pp, with illus, $24.95, New York, Praeger Publishers, 1982.

JAMA. 1982;248(17):2169. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330170073039

In this presentation, the authors have provided much needed information to help bridge two large and longstanding gaps in the scientific study of diseases and health-related problems that affected people in the past: the dearth of documentation and exemplary specimens showing known pathological findings in dry bones, which might be used for comparison to identify unknown abnormalities in old dry bones; and the lack of controlled studies demonstrating unequivocally the effects that the mummification process has on the histological appearance of various tissues, normal and diseased. Abnormalities in dry bones often present a very different appearance than they do in the living specimen, making identification of pathological conditions difficult. In mummified tissues moreso than in skeletons, identification of the pathological condition that existed during life is difficult because of autolytic changes superimposed on those produced by the process of preservation. The information presented in this book should be helpful in