Bone porosity and longevity in early medieval Southern Croatia.

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    • Abstract:
      Porosity of the skull and skeletal remains, especially of the orbital roof, are one of the most frequent pathological findings on ancient human skeletal remains. There are several presumed causes of this condition and anthropologists consider skull porosities as a marker of physical and nutritional stress. A total of 115 graves were discovered at the early-medieval graveyard near Zadar (Croatia) that contained 128 partially preserved skeletons. Average estimated age at death was 37.2 ± 12.6 years for men, 31.9 ± 13.9 for women, and 5.3 ± 3.6 years for subadults. Pathological bone porosity was analysed. Cribra orbitalia was observed on 21 skulls (28.7%), signs of temporal porosity were noticed on six skulls and signs of subperiosteal bleeding on three skulls. Nineteen skulls had bone porosities in other areas. There was a significant difference ( p = 0.039) in achieved age of adults with and without cribra orbitalia as those with cribra orbitalia lived on average 8.1 years longer. The bone porosity was probably caused by malnutrition that might have had a beneficial effect on longevity of adults, similar to effects of restricted food intake on extending lifespan through epigenetic signatures influencing gene expression. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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