Ortner, Donald J. Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Last reviewed:October 2020
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- Sources of data for paleopathology
- Human skeletal remains and burial
- Methods of diagnosis in archeological human remains
- Diseases reported in archeological human remains
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The study of disease in the ancient past. Paleopathology is the investigation of ancient diseases and their origins. The term applies to any evidence of disease in any form of life, including both plants and animals. However, the research emphasis and most publications (including this article) that deal with paleopathology focus largely on disease in humans and the ancestors of modern humans (Fig. 1). Nevertheless, there is a significant literature on ancient animal disease, and research in this area of science is ongoing. See also: Anthropology; Disease; Early modern humans; Epidemiology; Fossil humans
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