View Full Version : How long has it been known that certain illnesses leave striation (s?) on bones?

10-24-2010, 09:05 PM
Can anyone please help with this? How long has it been known that certain illnesses leave striation (s?) on bones? I've tried to find the answer on line but cannot find any where that talks about the history of bone striation.

10-24-2010, 10:42 PM
My wife is a physical anthropologist (with osteology focus) and will look into this for you. The history, especially surrounding osteology, can be murky.

Quick question: are you referring to animal or human bones?

10-24-2010, 10:44 PM
This gives a decent run down on radiographical identification. http://var-and-evo.biol.uni.torun.pl/03_9.pdf
It is worth Googling Henry Harris who did a lot of the early work.
I think that striation was associated with rickets in chickens in France about a hundred and fifty years ago, but I can't add much more than that.

10-25-2010, 01:25 AM
Paradox I am referring to human bones. Please thank your wife for me.
Kenn thanks for the info and links which I will check out tomorrow. ]

Really very grateful.

10-25-2010, 09:47 AM
I'm back with a little more information. I'm translating this into lay-speak.

The short answer is mid to late 19th century, with much of the heavy lifting occurring in the 1870's to 1890's. Most early work on pathology would have involved syphilis, which has very distinctive, cauliflower-like striations.

Before this, anthropologists were already looking into skeletal morphology, but it was restricted primarily to questions of race, sex, size, age, etc. Also, they tended to concentrate almost exclusively on cranial analysis.

Work could have been done earlier on disease pathology, particularly in the 18th century, but much of it would have been kept very secret. The use of human bones was a huge cultural taboo, so knowledge would have been shared among a very small group of sympathetic peers. Also, the earliest work was performed on animal bones (because there was no taboo and they were readily available). Unfortunately, early anthropologists believed there was absolutely no link between animal and human skeletal analysis, so that work was never really transferred over.

Hope this helps. If you need more information, let me know.

10-25-2010, 11:54 AM
Paradox that is really useful. Thank you so much.

When I am slightly more awake I'll read Kenns links...