A particular heritage: The importance of identified osteological collections


One of the main pillars of bioanthropological studies are the identified osteological collections. The goal of this document is to describe this heritage and show its importance. Since the nineteenth century, several countries have collected sets of skulls and skeletons from people about whom we know some biographical data; among other details, their age when they died and their sex. There are currently around fifty collections in different countries of North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Researching into them has applications for the study of human evolution, past populations, palaeopathology, and the history of medicine, among others. The need to increase the number of individuals and extend the geographic distribution of samples leads to the continuous development of these collections.


physical and biological anthropology; forensic anthropology; skeletal biology; palaeopathology; history of medicine


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