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Atlas of human paleopathology. By M. R. Zimmerman and M. A. Kelley. New York Praeger. 1982. xi + 220 pp. figures tables index. $24

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cord linkage methodologies, and 3) to develop
and fit statistical models to genealogical data
bases. In pursuit of these objectives the book
has succeeded admirably.
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
By M. manner what it is that they are illustrating.
R. Zimmerman and M. A. Kelley. New The quality of photographs in this section
York: Praeger. 1982. xi 220 pp., figures,
tables, index. $24.95 (cloth).
The two major portions of this volume consist of a series of brief illustrated descriptions
of pathological changes that may be encountered in dry bone and in mummified tissue.
It begins with a cursory review of the literature and ends with a brief discussion of problems and progress in paleopathologic
diagnosis. The authors intend the book to be
used by investigators to cross-reference the
material they are examining with documented specimens, thereby achieving more
accurate diagnosis. The section on mummified tissue is admirably suited to this purpose. Both normal and pathological human
cadaver tissues were experimentally mummified. Changes produced by mummification
on normal tissue are explained and illustrated. Descriptions of pathological changes
include discussion and illustration of lesions
in both fresh and mummified tissue and contrasting healthy tissue. Verbal descriptions
are clear and precise. While the typical appearance of the disease state is usually described, discussion of progressive changes is
sometimes included. The accompanying photographs are well chosen and easy to interpret, and they complement the textual
The osteopathology section is less consistent. Some conditions are described thoroughly. Here treatment includes gross
appearance, distribution of lesions in the
skeleton, distribution of the condition in contemporary populations, progressive changes,
radiologic appearance, etc. Other conditions
are glossed in a most perfunctory manner. A
few descriptions deal almost exclusively with
soft tissue. The appearance of lesions in cross
section is rarely covered. The quality of the
illustrations in this section is poor. While the
presentation of series of photos of “typical”
specimens may lull the reader into diagnostic overconfidence, a n atlas is, by definition,
a collection of illustrations. The illustrations
should show in a clear and straightforward
stands in sharp contrast to that of the mummified material. Structural detail is frequently obscured by shadows or washed out.
Complete familiarity with the appearance of
the lesions is necessary in order to find them
in a few of the photos. All but one of the xrays used were taken on living subjects. Soft
tissue obscures detail which can easily be
seen on macerated bone. To be most beneficial, a reference set of x-rays meant for comparison with dry bone should be done on dry
The authors have, however, chosen their
specimens well. The majority come from
early 20th-century cadavers of hospital patients who had been autopsied. There are
medical data to support diagnosis, and,
equally important, the collection predates the
advent of modern medical technologies. Thus,
the disease processes more closely resemble
those of prehistoric populations than would a
more modern series.
Osteologists will find it reassuring to learn
that mummified soft tissue does not necessarily yield information of higher quality
than does bone. And those concerned with
contemporary health and environment issues will find a n important message in the
author’s discussion of cancer in the last chapter. The overall quality of the book is mixed.
It outlines a n important new approach to the
study of mummified material. The coverage
of mummified tissue is all that a n atlas
should be. Misstatements throughout the text
are few. For those who work in osteology,
and have the knowledge necessary to “fill in
the blanks” in the text and interpret the
photographs, this will be a useful addition to
their library. It condenses in one small volume information previously scattered in numerous books and articles. It should aid the
user in achieving a more accurate diagnosis
of some conditions, though not as many as
the authors intend.
S. U.N. Y: College at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York
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figuren, paleopathology, atlas, index, human, new, york, 1982, keller, praeger, zimmerman, tablet, 220
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