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Digging up bones. By D. R. Brothwell. Third edition revised and updated. Ithaca New York Cornell University Press. 1981. 208 pp. figures tables bibliography index. $14

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“highly endemic populations of Tethytheres
(Proboscidians, Hyracoids, Sirenians, etc.), tenrecs, primates, and possibly condylarths ...A low
diversity of major mammal taxa in Africa at that
time may well have been associated with a high
diversity in taxa represented, just as it is in
Madagascar today.”
Subsequent mammalian history in Madagascar would run: survival and further ramification
of tenrecs and primates, but extinction of Proboscidians and other early mammals in the climatic stresses at the end of the Eocene. The
Malagasy viverrid carnivores stem from a group
which did not reach Africa until the early Oligocene. They, and probably the few Malagasy rodents and the aardvark, would then have crossed
later to Madagascar by true waif dispersal,
probably during a mid-Oligocene period of low
sea level.
Tattersall’s view of strepsirhine origins may
be the most controversial part of the book, but
many other parts will become essential refer-
ences. He pictures in situ lemur speciation
through the repeated growth and shrinkage of
grasslands, as on other continents. Such grasslands would have offered habitats for Aepyornis
the elephant bird, as well as the baboon-like
Archaeolemur and the gelada-like Hadropithecus. (Dewar, pers. comm.) He gives a clear picture of the living and recently extinct giant
lemurs as a single faunal community. He comes
out for Walker, Battistini, and Verin’s view that
the death of those giant lemurs is directly due
to human predation, to our forest felling and
burning, and man-made dessication of their habitat as well as our own. He concludes with the
likelihood that we shall finish off most of the
remaining lemurs in the same way. Does this
fascinating radiation of primates have a future,
as well as a past?
DIGGINGUP BONES. By D. R. Brothwell.
Third edition, revised and updated. Ithaca.
New York: Cornell University Press. 1981.
208 pp., figures, tables, bibliography, index.
$14.95 (paper).
anthropologist might face after a discovery of
a burial site. The readers are warned and
advised about excavation and preservation
techniques of remains, mixed and burned
bones, cataloging, and packing for transportation. This part is almost unchanged from
the earlier editions.
The second part, Study of human bones, is
a concise description of the skeleton and teeth.
Cranial sutures and sutural variation (e.g.,
metopic suture and wormian bones), skull deformation, comparative osteology of human
and animal bones constitute (new to this volume) the remaining part. This reviewer wonders why the sutural anomalies are included
here since in a later part nonmetric cranial
traits are dealt with more extensively. Secondly, a minor problem exists in all editions
that the ethmoid bone is not considered a
constituent part of the eye orbit.
Part 111, Demographic aspects of skeletal
biology is a newly created part in this book,
and yet the contents (age and sex determination) are almost the same as the previous
editions. The new information added is a general consideration of paleodemography with a
life table, and a half-page long age-related
bone histology. This is the weakest part of
the book.
The book under review is by no means new
to anthropologists. It was published first in
1963 and revised in 1972, yet no review of the
previous editions has appeared in this Journal
even though many of us have adopted the
book. Therefore, this review will deal with
not only the latest edition but also the earlier
Digging Up Bones is considered by the author of the book to be a “handbook” to meet
the essential needs of field archaeologists and
of “students of general anthropology and
anatomy.” The subtitle, The excavation,
treatment and study of h u m a n skeletal remains, supports this consideration. With this
objective, the book is divided into six major
parts plus a short concluding remark section.
In essence this format is the same as the
earlier editions, with several minor exceptions.
Part I, Guidance in excavating and reporting on human remains, deals with the potentially most problematic area that an
The Rockefeller University
New York, New York
Measurement and morphological analysis,
is the fourth and one of the longest parts
(about 20 percent of the book). Osteometry,
nonmetric skeletal traits, odontometry, dental morphology, and statistical methods are
all considered here. With the exception of
cranial and postcranial nonmetric traits and
odontometry, this part is essentially unchanged.
Injuries and marks and ancient disease,
form the next two parts, respectively. Information is provided as to how to recognize
wounds and determine weapons. Trephination is detailed, its prehistoric appearance in
different geographical locations is explained,
and differences between post-mortem and
ante-mortem perforations are discussed with
several supportive figures and plates. Tooth
evulsion or ablation is also briefly mentioned
in this part.
Perhaps the most outstanding part of the
entire book is on paleopathology (25 percent
of the book). This book seems to be the first
introductory handbook that includes a detailed section on prehistoric diseases. Of the
11general disease categories tuberculosis, arthritis (the term arthropathy is used interchangeably) and treponematosis (combining
syphilis with yaws in this edition) are revised
and updated. Differential diagnosis of metastatic neoplasm, syphilis, and tuberculosis are
discussed and related illustrations are provided.
Other changes are seen in the general format of the book. It has an additional 100 or
more new sources and a better subject index.
Typesetting is excellent and typographical errors are not disturbing. The price of the book
is three times as much as the original edition,
but still reasonable.
Overall, Brothwell, in this edition, has added
mostly supplementary information. New developments such as estimation of age (bone
remodeling, core technique, and dental histology), parturition scars, identification of sex
and race through discriminant function analysis, pubic symphyseal metamorphosis in females, and Trotter’s revision on stature
estimation are minimally considered or lacking, yet these are now within the syllabus of
many undergraduate courses.
Although there are deficiencies in the book,
it is still the best and most comprehensive
book to be used in an osteology course. Forensic scientists (pathologists and odontologists)
should find every part of the book relevant to
investigation and identification of a human
skeleton of an unknown individual if an anthropologist is not available to do the job.
Edited by D. M.
Paige, and T. M. Bayless. Baltimore: The
Johns Hopkins University Press. 1981. xix
+ 280 pp., figures, tables, references, index. $22.50 (cloth).
ful collaborative efforts in the effort to
elucidate the causes of lactose malabsorption.
As so often happens, the more that is
learned about the process of lactose digestion,
the more complicated are the hypotheses offered to explain the symptoms of malabsorption. Thus, we find that terms that seemed
entirely appropriate a decade ago are no
longer considered accurate. As the investigators in this volume point out for instance,
“lactose intolerance” is more a matter of degree than a clearly defined phenomenon.
Moreover, when it became apparent that the
vast majority of living humans experience a
decline in the production of lactose during
childhood, it had to be admitted that continued lactase production was an anomaly rather
than the normal state. This is especially true
During the past 10 years more than 1000
papers addressing some aspect of lactose
digestion have appeared in the scientific literature. The emphasis of these publications
has ranged from those concerned with the
origins and diffusion of dairying to others
dealing with the cellular characteristics of the
absorptive surface of the small intestine. By
its very breadth, the topic of lactose digestion
has served as an important focus of biomedical/anthropological research, generating use-
Flor.ida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida
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