Anemia and childhood mortality: Latitudinal patterning along the coast of pre-Columbian Peru

Deborah E. Blom, Jane Buikstra, Linda Keng, Paula D. Tomczak, Eleanor Shoreman, Debbie Stevens-Tuttle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hrdlička ([1914] Smithson. Inst. Misc. Collect. 67:1-69) reported that pre-Columbian skeletal material from the coastal lowland Andean region exhibited a high frequency of porotic hyperostosis, a pathological condition of bone that generally is thought to indicate childhood anemia. While subsequent studies tended to reinforce this conclusion, factors implicated in the condition have yet to be fully explored in the region as a whole. This study explores regional and intravalley variation as one step in establishing biocultural variables that increase the apparent risk of childhood anemia. The study sample includes 1,465 individuals: 512 from Peruvian collections housed at the Field Museum of Natural History, and 953 from systematically excavated contexts from Moquegua, Peru. Environmental stressors, such as parasites and disease, rather than specific dietary practices were found to be more likely associated with childhood anemia in these coastal Andean samples. The study supports cribra orbitalia as an earlier expression of porotic hyperostosis and suggests that porotic hyperostosis, as recorded here, cannot be easily dismissed as a result of cranial shape modification. No clear temporal patterns were observed. Finally, the study establishes that comparing data for children and adults can reveal the relative association between childhood anemia and mortality. Childhood mortality associated with anemia was elevated where the presence of tuberculosis or tuberculosis-like conditions was more common and the presence of water-borne pathogens was negligible. In contrast, those buried at lower altitudes, closer to the coast, and consuming mainly marine resources were less likely to die in childhood with anemia than in the other contexts studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-169
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume127
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Peru
childhood
anemia
Anemia
mortality
Hyperostosis
coasts
Mortality
tuberculosis
contagious disease
Tuberculosis
Andean Region
Andes region
Museums
marine resources
condition factor
Natural History
natural history
museum
lowlands

Keywords

  • Andes
  • Paleopathology
  • Parasites
  • Porotic hyperostosis
  • Skeletal biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology

Cite this

Anemia and childhood mortality : Latitudinal patterning along the coast of pre-Columbian Peru. / Blom, Deborah E.; Buikstra, Jane; Keng, Linda; Tomczak, Paula D.; Shoreman, Eleanor; Stevens-Tuttle, Debbie.

In: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 127, No. 2, 06.2005, p. 152-169.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Blom, Deborah E. ; Buikstra, Jane ; Keng, Linda ; Tomczak, Paula D. ; Shoreman, Eleanor ; Stevens-Tuttle, Debbie. / Anemia and childhood mortality : Latitudinal patterning along the coast of pre-Columbian Peru. In: American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2005 ; Vol. 127, No. 2. pp. 152-169.
@article{23003da8ab5e455bb43223483f1f1822,
title = "Anemia and childhood mortality: Latitudinal patterning along the coast of pre-Columbian Peru",
abstract = "Hrdlička ([1914] Smithson. Inst. Misc. Collect. 67:1-69) reported that pre-Columbian skeletal material from the coastal lowland Andean region exhibited a high frequency of porotic hyperostosis, a pathological condition of bone that generally is thought to indicate childhood anemia. While subsequent studies tended to reinforce this conclusion, factors implicated in the condition have yet to be fully explored in the region as a whole. This study explores regional and intravalley variation as one step in establishing biocultural variables that increase the apparent risk of childhood anemia. The study sample includes 1,465 individuals: 512 from Peruvian collections housed at the Field Museum of Natural History, and 953 from systematically excavated contexts from Moquegua, Peru. Environmental stressors, such as parasites and disease, rather than specific dietary practices were found to be more likely associated with childhood anemia in these coastal Andean samples. The study supports cribra orbitalia as an earlier expression of porotic hyperostosis and suggests that porotic hyperostosis, as recorded here, cannot be easily dismissed as a result of cranial shape modification. No clear temporal patterns were observed. Finally, the study establishes that comparing data for children and adults can reveal the relative association between childhood anemia and mortality. Childhood mortality associated with anemia was elevated where the presence of tuberculosis or tuberculosis-like conditions was more common and the presence of water-borne pathogens was negligible. In contrast, those buried at lower altitudes, closer to the coast, and consuming mainly marine resources were less likely to die in childhood with anemia than in the other contexts studied.",
keywords = "Andes, Paleopathology, Parasites, Porotic hyperostosis, Skeletal biology",
author = "Blom, {Deborah E.} and Jane Buikstra and Linda Keng and Tomczak, {Paula D.} and Eleanor Shoreman and Debbie Stevens-Tuttle",
year = "2005",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1002/ajpa.10431",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "127",
pages = "152--169",
journal = "American Journal of Physical Anthropology",
issn = "0002-9483",
publisher = "Wiley-Liss Inc.",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Anemia and childhood mortality

T2 - Latitudinal patterning along the coast of pre-Columbian Peru

AU - Blom, Deborah E.

AU - Buikstra, Jane

AU - Keng, Linda

AU - Tomczak, Paula D.

AU - Shoreman, Eleanor

AU - Stevens-Tuttle, Debbie

PY - 2005/6

Y1 - 2005/6

N2 - Hrdlička ([1914] Smithson. Inst. Misc. Collect. 67:1-69) reported that pre-Columbian skeletal material from the coastal lowland Andean region exhibited a high frequency of porotic hyperostosis, a pathological condition of bone that generally is thought to indicate childhood anemia. While subsequent studies tended to reinforce this conclusion, factors implicated in the condition have yet to be fully explored in the region as a whole. This study explores regional and intravalley variation as one step in establishing biocultural variables that increase the apparent risk of childhood anemia. The study sample includes 1,465 individuals: 512 from Peruvian collections housed at the Field Museum of Natural History, and 953 from systematically excavated contexts from Moquegua, Peru. Environmental stressors, such as parasites and disease, rather than specific dietary practices were found to be more likely associated with childhood anemia in these coastal Andean samples. The study supports cribra orbitalia as an earlier expression of porotic hyperostosis and suggests that porotic hyperostosis, as recorded here, cannot be easily dismissed as a result of cranial shape modification. No clear temporal patterns were observed. Finally, the study establishes that comparing data for children and adults can reveal the relative association between childhood anemia and mortality. Childhood mortality associated with anemia was elevated where the presence of tuberculosis or tuberculosis-like conditions was more common and the presence of water-borne pathogens was negligible. In contrast, those buried at lower altitudes, closer to the coast, and consuming mainly marine resources were less likely to die in childhood with anemia than in the other contexts studied.

AB - Hrdlička ([1914] Smithson. Inst. Misc. Collect. 67:1-69) reported that pre-Columbian skeletal material from the coastal lowland Andean region exhibited a high frequency of porotic hyperostosis, a pathological condition of bone that generally is thought to indicate childhood anemia. While subsequent studies tended to reinforce this conclusion, factors implicated in the condition have yet to be fully explored in the region as a whole. This study explores regional and intravalley variation as one step in establishing biocultural variables that increase the apparent risk of childhood anemia. The study sample includes 1,465 individuals: 512 from Peruvian collections housed at the Field Museum of Natural History, and 953 from systematically excavated contexts from Moquegua, Peru. Environmental stressors, such as parasites and disease, rather than specific dietary practices were found to be more likely associated with childhood anemia in these coastal Andean samples. The study supports cribra orbitalia as an earlier expression of porotic hyperostosis and suggests that porotic hyperostosis, as recorded here, cannot be easily dismissed as a result of cranial shape modification. No clear temporal patterns were observed. Finally, the study establishes that comparing data for children and adults can reveal the relative association between childhood anemia and mortality. Childhood mortality associated with anemia was elevated where the presence of tuberculosis or tuberculosis-like conditions was more common and the presence of water-borne pathogens was negligible. In contrast, those buried at lower altitudes, closer to the coast, and consuming mainly marine resources were less likely to die in childhood with anemia than in the other contexts studied.

KW - Andes

KW - Paleopathology

KW - Parasites

KW - Porotic hyperostosis

KW - Skeletal biology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=18644366667&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=18644366667&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/ajpa.10431

DO - 10.1002/ajpa.10431

M3 - Article

C2 - 15558829

AN - SCOPUS:18644366667

VL - 127

SP - 152

EP - 169

JO - American Journal of Physical Anthropology

JF - American Journal of Physical Anthropology

SN - 0002-9483

IS - 2

ER -