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Virtual reconstruction and geometric morphometrics as tools for paleopathology: A new approach to study rare developmental disorders of the skeleton


Milella, Marco; Zollikofer, Christoph P E; Ponce de León, Marcia S (2015). Virtual reconstruction and geometric morphometrics as tools for paleopathology: A new approach to study rare developmental disorders of the skeleton. Anatomical Record, 298(2):335-345.

Abstract

Survey studies of osteoarchaeological collections occasionally yield specimens exhibiting rare skeletal developmental disorders. Beyond paleopathological diagnosis, however, it is often difficult to gain insight into the processes, mechanisms, and consequences of the pathology, notably because archaeological specimens are often fragmentary. Here, we propose a combination of virtual reconstruction (VR) and geometric morphometrics (GM) to address these issues. As an example, we use VR to reconstruct the only known archaeological specimen exhibiting persistence of the pelvic triradiate cartilage and compare it via GM with a set of healthy pelvises representing both sexes and different ontogenetic stages. Our results evidence (i) a marked deviation of the pathological pelvis from the adult mean shape, (ii) the retention of typical male features, and (iii) the retention of a paedomorphic ratio between iliac and ischiopubic size. Altogether, such data offer new insights into the modularity and integration of pelvic ontogeny, while at the same time demonstrating the usefulness of a combined VR/GM approach as complement to classical methods of paleopathology.

Survey studies of osteoarchaeological collections occasionally yield specimens exhibiting rare skeletal developmental disorders. Beyond paleopathological diagnosis, however, it is often difficult to gain insight into the processes, mechanisms, and consequences of the pathology, notably because archaeological specimens are often fragmentary. Here, we propose a combination of virtual reconstruction (VR) and geometric morphometrics (GM) to address these issues. As an example, we use VR to reconstruct the only known archaeological specimen exhibiting persistence of the pelvic triradiate cartilage and compare it via GM with a set of healthy pelvises representing both sexes and different ontogenetic stages. Our results evidence (i) a marked deviation of the pathological pelvis from the adult mean shape, (ii) the retention of typical male features, and (iii) the retention of a paedomorphic ratio between iliac and ischiopubic size. Altogether, such data offer new insights into the modularity and integration of pelvic ontogeny, while at the same time demonstrating the usefulness of a combined VR/GM approach as complement to classical methods of paleopathology.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:10 Feb 2015 15:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:55
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1932-8486
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.23020
PubMed ID:25132577
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-106490

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