Spongy bones in prehistoric America

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Science  09 Jul 1976:
Vol. 193, Issue 4248, pp. 141-143
DOI: 10.1126/science.779029


A well-preserved mummified child from about A.D. 1200 was recovered fron Canyon de Chelly in northeastern Arizona in 1971. Striking skull changes were found and microscopic, ultrastructural, and cytochemical studies confirm the diagnosis of porotic hyperostosis that resulted in spongy bone appearance. We suggest that a possible cause for this condition could be iron deficiency of a severity seldom found in modern societies.