Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Anemone

Second Advisor

Dr. Ann Miles

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary L. Powell

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Spondylolysis, the separation of a neural arch from its vertebral body, has been extensively studied throughout both the clinical and anthropological literature. Behaviors associated with spondylolysis are those that involve an increased amount of flexion and extension of the back. Within all populations studied, Inuits are reported to have the highest spondylolysis prevalence. It could be because whaling activities cause sufficient compression forces on lumbar vertebrae to cause spondylolysis. This paper focuses on two populations from Point Hope, Alaska (Ipiutak and Tigarak). The earlier population, the Ipiutak, lived between 2100 - 1500 BP and did not hunt whales. In contrast, the Tigarak lived between 800 - 300 BP and were avid whalers. The Tigarak and Ipiutak spondylolysis prevalence are compared with the Hamann-Todd collection (another non-whaler population) and three other whaling populations (Sadlermiut, Koniag, and Aleut) in order to test the hypothesis that whaling is a high risk activity for spondylolysis.

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