Gracilization of the modern human skeleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The skeletons of human beings have changed over the past two million years becoming less robust or more gracile. Older people suffer more broken bones because the mass and strength of bone decrease with age. Age-related changes in bone result from interactions between environmental and genetic factors. The high incidence of broken bones late in life is a recent development for Homo sapiens based from an evolutionary perspective. The vast majority of bone-aging studies have concentrated on the bone's mass, volume, density or a combination of these. Scientists can compare bone adaptations in dominant and nondominant arms of people with differing activity levels. Adult skeletons remain responsive to increased exercise but they respond more slowly and less completely than those of children. The gracilization of the modern human skeleton is probably a direct result of the consistently advancing technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-514
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Scientist
Volume94
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006

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Skeleton
skeleton
Bone
bones
Bone and Bones
bone fractures
Bone Fractures
bone strength
exercise
incidence
Exercise
Technology
Incidence
Aging of materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Gracilization of the modern human skeleton. / Ruff, Christopher B.

In: American Scientist, Vol. 94, No. 6, 11.2006, p. 508-514.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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