is the scientific study
. A subdiscipline
, osteology is a detailed study of the structure of bones, skeletal elements, teeth
, function, disease
, the process of ossification
molds), the resistance and hardness of bones (biophysics
), etc. Often used by scientists with identification of human remains with regard to age
, and development
in a biocultural context.
A typical analysis will include:
- an inventory of the skeletal elements present
- a dental inventory
- aging data, based upon epiphyseal fusion, dental eruption and tooth wear
- sexing data, based upon bone morphology
- stature and other metric data
- non-metric traits
- pathology and/or cultural modifications
- taphonomy, including weathering, gnawing, butchery, burning and related processes...
Osteological approaches are frequently applied to investigations in disciplines such as forensic science, physical anthropology and archaeology, and has a place in research on topics including:
- Bass, W M. 2005. Human Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual. 5th Edition. Columbia: Missouri Archaeological Society.
- Buikstra, J. E and Ubelaker, D. H. (eds.) 1994. Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains. Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Series No. 44.
- Cox, M and Mays, S. (eds.) 2000. Human Osteology in Archaeology and Forensic Science. London: Greenwich Medical Media.