International journal of paleopathology | 5 Dec 2017
MD D'Angelo Del Campo, JA Suby, P García-Laborde and RA Guichón
Spondylolysis is a fracture of the pars interarticularis, the portion of the neural arch that lies between the superior articular facets and the inferior articular facets. Clinical evidence has suggested repetitive trauma to be the most probable cause, even though morphological weakness of the vertebra is probably also involved. Prevalence is between 3% and 8% in modern populations, while in archaeological samples it varies from 0% to 71.4%. Considering that very little data about this condition is available in past populations from the southern extreme of South America, the aim of this paper is to analyze the spondylolysis in a human skeletal sample from Southern Patagonia and, at the same time, to explore the prevalence of spondylolysis in archaeological contexts around the world to gain a better understanding of the results presented here. The Southern Patagonian skeletal series analyzed here showed a prevalence of 20%, with lower prevalence in the pre contact sample (11.1%) than in the contact period (23.1%). Skeletons from the Salesian Mission “Nuestra Señora de La Candelaria” showed a higher prevalence (25%) than the sample of skeletal remains recovered from outside the mission (20%), suggesting that changes in lifestyle of hunter-gatherers during contact could be implicated in the development of spondylolysis in this sample. A worldwide survey displays a wide range of prevalence figures in American and Asian samples and low diversity between African and European populations. Hunter-gatherers from Southern Patagonia showed similar values to those observed in other American samples.
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