AnatomyArchaeologists find the pelvis of a primitive human and are able to identify the sex, the relative age, and some physical characteristics of the individual. How is this possible from only...

Anatomy

Archaeologists find the pelvis of a primitive human and are able to identify the sex, the relative age, and some physical characteristics of the individual. How is this possible from only the pelvis?

Asked on by angela-62

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pacorz's profile pic

pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

People tend to forget that bone is a living, dynamic tissue, and that it changes throughout your lifespan. Any bone in your body can provide clues to who you were and how you lived; the pelvis can tell more than some bones because it has a slightly different shape in males and females, and also because it sustains some permanent changes during pregnancy.

Every skeletal muscle is attached to bones at areas called insertions. The sizes of the insertions on a bone can indicate how well developed the muscles were, which can give some indication of the person's lifestyle.

Bones age along with the rest of you, so osteoporosis, arthritis, and general wear and tear can be indicators of age. There are also some diseases which can leave distinctive marks on bones; examples are syphilis, Paget's disease, and osteomalacia.

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

The female pelvis is different from the male pelvis because a female's pelvis has to expand to allow a baby to pass through. A female pelvis also has a slighty different shape because it has to cradle and support the weight of a growing baby. There are also other markers on bones which can tell something about the individual. For example, a female who has carried and given birth to a child will have certain visible characteristic markers on her pelvis bone. By measuring particular points on the bone, archeologists can determine other factors such as age and height. In some cases, they can also tell other specifics like the physical health of the person, whether they walked with a limp, and perhaps even what type of work they did.
vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It's pretty fascinating, isn't it? Here's a link that explains how it works.

http://www.biologycorner.com/quests/bones/index.html

Basically, they measure the pelvis and they know the average pelvis size at different ages. Male pelvises look different than female, so they can tell if it is male or female and approximately how old.

 

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