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Bones bodies and diseases Evidence of disease and abnormality in early man. By Calvin Wells New York Frederick A. Praeger Inc. 288 pp

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Book Reviews
HUMAN MECHANICS : Four Monographs
Abridged. W. Braune and 0. Fischer,
OF THE SEATED OPERATOR. Technical Documentary Report no. AMRLTDR-63-123, December, 1963. Prepared
under Contract no. AF33(616)-8091.
By Wilton Marion Krogman and Francis
E. Johnston, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
BONES, BODIES AND DISEASES: Evidence of Disease and Abnormality in
Early Man. By Calvin Wells, New York,
Frederick A. Praeger, Inc. 288 pp., appendix, 88 photographs, 33 line drawings, 4 tables, 3 graphs, l histogram,
A unique conjugation of a medically
trained anthropologist and able writer has
proved again to this reviewer’s satisfaction,
that the combination pays off. The author
has aimed well and remained on target
throughout. He has produced a handbook
on a fascinating facet of ancient life
which everyone will read with attention,
and will keep at hand because of its
wealth of contents, references and selecThe Human Engineering Division of the tion of words and phrases. The unusual
Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories, words and phrases are apt to create in the
Anthropology Branch, Wright-Patterson reader’s mind some sort of a mental prejAir Force Base, Ohio, initiated the study udice, but should not be held for long. The
of which this excellent, condensed com- author simply possesses a remarkable vopilation is the result. The anthropologists cabulary, all of which makes for good
listed in the title, together with H. T. E. reading.
Exhaustive reports of archaeologic arHertzberg, Chief of the Anthropology
Branch, were the inspirations and pro- chives, and contents of museums and hisducers. Four volumes were condensed for torical documents were culled by the
students and engineers of human biology. author, relative to good and bad evidence
These classical monographs really need no of diseases of early and recently historical
comments, because their titles and long people. He has divided this enormous subtime reputations speak for themselves. The ject well into chapters. He has classified
first, published in 1889, and the last in the material into ( 1 ) abnormalities of con1955. are now available in this compre- genital origin, ( 2 ) injury, ( 3 ) degenerahensive but, at the same time, short form. tion, ( 4 ) infectious diseases, (5) imbalance varieties, and ( 6 ) dental and even
They will be used more often and their mental diseases. The paleopathologic eviclinical values revived for those interested dence is presented from the actual bone,
in man’s posture around the world.
skin, soft tissue and cultural artifacts ocThis monograph which is in soft covers, casionally preserved throughout the world.
will be a reference work for all time and A chapter is devoted to skeletal adaptais a great credit to the compilers. Some wag tions, one to cannibalism, trepannation
has said that it is easy to rewrite, but and radiographic evidence of these strucanyone who has attempted to condense tural changes. Of these latter he places
treatises of this nature knows it is not. considerable hope in “Harris lines,” not
The arrangers are to be congratulated.
accepted in the USA at this time and stage
research as of great value.
C. W. GOFF, M.D.
In a sense historical medicine is touched
University of Hartford
upon. Artificial interference with natural
Hartford, Connecticut
AM. J. PHYS.ANTHROP.,22: 493-496.
processes, such as head molding, body
mutilation, dental decorations, tattooing,
circumcision customs and castration techniques are reported on, not usually included in the subject matter.
Vital statistics of diseases of antiquity
are presented in a brief chapter. His tantalizingly short chapter (4 pages), describing a few paleodetective events, a reconstruction of historical characters and their
morbidities from their osseous remains,
could have been expanded with profit for
the reader. I n this regard a recent reconstruction from identified remains of Cristobal Colon, was omitted and other notable
restorations. But this is not a criticism.
The format, type, illustrations and index
are characteristic of the series “Ancient
People and Places,” under the general
editorship of Glyn Daniel.
This reviewer does not know of anything
published by the author with which to
compare his present work. However he
should write more of the same. Anthropologists and interested lay people alike
will read this with pleasure. It is not technical nor dull. It is informative.
C. W. GOFF, M.D.
University o f Hartford
Hartford, Connecticut
THE PHYSIQUE OF THE OLYMPIC ATHLETE, by J. M. Tanner, with the assistance of R. H. Whitehouse and Shirley
Jarman. 126 pp., 6 tables, 80 figures,
118 plates. George Allen and Unwin,
Ltd., London, 1964. $11.50.
Nineteen hundred and sixty four was a n
Olympic year and, appropriately, marked
the publication of this first major and systematic study of the morphology of the
athletes capable of such competition although it was carried out on participants
in the 1960 games, played in Rome. The
sample, selected on the basis of cooperation and their having achieved the Olympic
standards, numbered 137. Unfortunately,
the highly selective nature of the events
necessitated such extensive sub-grouping
that population comparisons were not always statistically valid and conclusions
were drawn primarily on white, only 15
being Negro and 9 Asian.
The authors presume no knowledge of
method on the part of the reader and,
hence, a substantial part of the book is
composed of discussions on the techniques
of measurement, somatotypology and satistical analysis. For someone unfamiliar
with such techniques, this is invaluable,
presenting up-to-date methods of analysis
of constitutional variables, including size,
shape and composition, the latter via photographic anthropometry, radiography, and
Between the competitors in various athletic events, considerable differences were
found to exist. The sample divided reasonably and naturally into middle and longdistance runners (400 m and u p ) , sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers, throwers, weightlifters and wrestlers. Within each group,
gradients occur; e.g., among the runners,
400 m athletes are large, long-legged,
broad-shouldered and fairly well muscled;
marathon runners, at the other extreme,
tend to be just the opposite. Athletes that
use their shoulder girdles more (throwers,
for instance) tend to have greater muscle
masses and also to have more f a t as one
would expect.
As f a r a s the question which is allimportant to many individuals, “is the
Negro biologically equipped for the disproportionate success in athletic competition that he enjoys,” Tanner makes some
conclusions. The lighter-muscled calf of
Negroes, permitting a lower moment of
inertia, possibly allows faster recovery and
renders their observed success in the 110m
hurdles somewhat predictable. However,
such is not the case in the pole vault,
where Negro success would be predicted
by virtue of their greater arm muscle
masses and longer arms, but hardly verified by the actual performances. The
author notes social traditions a s a factor
in event selection, also including motivation in a n area where inter-racial competition is culturally sanctioned. Thus the
question remains, in some aspects, still unanswered. However, the case for biological
factors is strengthened because of this systematic study.
Inserted in the middle of the text are
some 26 excellent standarized photographs
of the athletes studied providing a valuable atlas of the extremely selected and
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