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Journal Article

Female bone physiology resilience in a past Polynesian Outlier community


Bertolini,  Emilie
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Miszkiewicz, J. J., Buckley, H. R., Feldman, M., Kiko, L., Carlhoff, S., Naegele, K., et al. (2022). Female bone physiology resilience in a past Polynesian Outlier community. Scientific Reports, 12: 18857. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-23171-3.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-735C-D
Remodelling is a fundamental biological process involved in the maintenance of bone physiology and function. We know that a range of health and lifestyle factors can impact this process in living and past societies, but there is a notable gap in bone remodelling data for populations from the Pacific Islands. We conducted the first examination of femoral cortical histology in 69 individuals from ca. 440–150 BP Taumako in Solomon Islands, a remote ‘Polynesian Outlier’ island in Melanesia. We tested whether bone remodelling indicators differed between age groups, and biological sex validated using ancient DNA. Bone vascular canal and osteon size, vascular porosity, and localised osteon densities, corrected by femoral robusticity indices were examined. Females had statistically significantly higher vascular porosities when compared to males, but osteon densities and ratios of canal-osteon (~ 8%) did not differ between the sexes. Our results indicate that, compared to males, localised femoral bone tissue of the Taumako females did not drastically decline with age, contrary to what is often observed in modern populations. However, our results match findings in other archaeological samples—a testament to past female bone physiology resilience, also now observed in the Pacific region.