alexa A case of chondrodystrophic dwarfism in the Italian late Upper Paleolithic.
Clinical Research

Clinical Research

Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics

Author(s): Frayer DW, Macchiarelli R, Mussi M

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During excavations by P. Graziosi at Romito Cave near Papasidero (Cosenza) in Calabria, Italy, two skeletons (Romito 1 and 2) were discovered in a common grave. Although the specimens were briefly described by Messeri (Atti X Riuniuone Scientifica Ist. Ital. Preist. Protost., pp. 301-307, 1966), it is generally unknown in the anthropological literature that one of these individuals is a chondrodystrophic dwarf. As such, the specimen provides the earliest known case of dwarfism in the human skeletal record, extending the time span of this genetically determined growth abnormality to approximately 10,000 years ago. The specimen (Romito 2) exhibits features typical of chondrodysplasia, including a high domed skull, compressed cranial base, and in the postcranial skeleton extremely shortened diaphyseal lengths. The unique combination of these features suggests this pathological condition is acromesomelic dysplasia. Besides providing evidence for a greater antiquity of dwarfism than previously known, the fact that this individual reached late adolescence attests to tolerance of Upper Paleolithic groups for severely abnormal individuals and their ability to support members who were of limited economic value to the social group.

This article was published in Am J Phys Anthropol and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics

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