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Our bones can reveal fascinating information about how we have lived, from the food we have eaten to our levels of activity and the infections and injuries we have suffered. Elizabeth Weiss introduces readers to how lifestyle—in complex interaction with biology, genes, and environment—affects health in this distinctive tour of human osteology, past and present.

Centering on health issues that have arisen in the last fifty to sixty years rather than thousands of years ago,
Paleopathology in Perspective is organized around particular bone traits such as growth patterns, back pains, infections, and oral health. Each chapter explains one category of traits and reviews data drawn from both ancient and more contemporary populations to explore how global trait trends have changed over time. Weiss also considers the likely causes of these changes—for example, the growth of obesity, increased longevity, and greater intensity of childhood sports. Taking a long view of bones, as Weiss clearly demonstrates, provides clues not just about how ancient humans once lived, but also how biology and behavior, lifestyle and health, remain intrinsically linked.

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