AskDefine | Define osteological

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. of, or related to osteology

Extensive Definition

Osteology is the scientific study of bones. A subdiscipline of anthropology and archeology, osteology is a detailed study of the structure of bones, skeletal elements, teeth, morphology, function, disease, pathology, the process of ossification (from cartilaginous molds), the resistance and hardness of bones (biophysics), etc. Often used by scientists with identification of human remains with regard to age, death, sex, growth, and development in a biocultural context.


A typical analysis will include:
  • an inventory of the skeletal elements present
  • a dental inventory
  • aging data, based upon epiphyseal fusion, dental eruption and tooth wear
  • sexing data, based upon bone morphology
  • stature and other metric data
  • ancestry
  • non-metric traits
  • pathology and/or cultural modifications
  • taphonomy, including weathering, gnawing, butchery, burning and related processes...


Osteological approaches are frequently applied to investigations in disciplines such as forensic science, physical anthropology and archaeology, and has a place in research on topics including:


  • Bass, W M. 2005. Human Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual. 5th Edition. Columbia: Missouri Archaeological Society.
  • Buikstra, J. E and Ubelaker, D. H. (eds.) 1994. Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains. Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Series No. 44.
  • Cox, M and Mays, S. (eds.) 2000. Human Osteology in Archaeology and Forensic Science. London: Greenwich Medical Media.

External links

osteological in German: Osteologie
osteological in Spanish: Osteología
osteological in French: Ostéologie
osteological in Japanese: 骨学
osteological in Norwegian: Osteologi
osteological in Pushto: هډتړپوهنه
osteological in Polish: Osteologia
osteological in Portuguese: Osteologia
osteological in Slovak: Osteológia
osteological in Swedish: Osteologi
osteological in Turkish: Kemikbilim
osteological in Ukrainian: Остеологія
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