One of the most pressing controversies today within a multitude of disciplines in biological anthropology including bioarchaeology, paleoanthropology and especially skeletal biology is whether or not physical activity patterns of individuals can be inferred from skeletal material and what types of activities can be reconstructed from that data (Jurmain et al., 2011). While many authors have published articles that incorporated the use of pathological and osteological markers as evidence for activity patterns, there is still much dispute within the skeletal biological community on the validity and the accuracy of the techniques used. This paper will discuss what types of markers are used to determine activity patterns as well as the difference between pathological and osteological markers. Next, it will discuss the history of using pathological and osteological markers as evidence for activity patterns and give examples of current literature circulated within the scientific community. Lastly, an argument will be made for why pathological and osteological markers are efficient tools for reconstructing past human activity if used in accordance with other variables such as health, diet, age, sex, stature, ancestry, and culture; among others and how through a deeper understanding of the many variables that influence activity patterns, solutions to this problem will become clear.
"Controversy in Skeletal Biology: the Use of Pathological and Osteological Markers as Evidence for Activity Patterns,"
The Hilltop Review: Vol. 8
, Article 19.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/hilltopreview/vol8/iss1/19