Publisher description for The backbone of history : health and nutrition in the Western Hemisphere / Richard H. Steckel, Jerome C. Rose.


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Counter For the same reasons that explorers strive to reach the poles, journey to outer space or deep into the oceans, most people want to visualize the contours of the human experience - the peaks of adaptive success that led to human growth, expansion and flowering of civilization, and the valleys of despair in which human presence ebbed and retreated. The Backbone of History gathers skeletal evidence on seven basic indicators of health to assess chronic conditions that affected individuals who lived in the Western hemisphere from 5000 BC to the late nineteenth century. Signs of biological stress in childhood and of degeneration in joints and in teeth increased in the several millennia before the arrival of Columbus as populations moved into less healthy ecological environments. Thus, pre-Columbian Native Americans were among the healthiest and the least healthy groups to live in the Western Hemisphere before the twentieth century.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Indians Food History Congresses, Indians Health and hygiene History Congresses, European Americans Health and hygiene History Congresses, African Americans Health and hygiene History Congresses, Human remains (Archaeology) America Congresses, America Antiquities Congresses