May 27, 2015

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 27)

I'm going to quote the inestimable Alison Atkin here, commenting on the headline "Church stunned as child's bones are dug up."  She says, "Missing from headline: '...dug up' [from church grounds, which if anywhere is where you'd expect them, no?'"

But more to the point, the article quotes archaeologist Joe Abrams as saying these are the remains of a juvenile, a relatively young person.  That's a lot of vague language, which is fine, but the article doubles-down and says "the size of the bones suggests that it [the child] was between 10 and 18 years of age at the time of its death."

Image of human bones from churchyard.
Photo via Dunstable Today.

Now check out that right proximal humerus.  Notice anything?  Or, rather, notice the lack of something?  There is no epiphyseal line; it is completely fused.  Fusion of the proximal humerus happens between about 18-22 years of age.

This may be a relatively young person (and then, based on the small size and the gracility of that forehead, female), but not a child.


Previous Installments of Who needs an osteologist?


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