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Int J Paleopathol. 2014 Mar;4:37-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2013.11.003. Epub 2013 Dec 22.

A probable case of acromegaly from the Windmiller culture of prehistoric Central California.

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Department of Anthropology, California State University, Chico, CA 95929-0400, United States. Electronic address:
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command - Central Identification Laboratory, Hickam Air Force Base, HI 96853, United States.
Department of Anthropology, California State University, Chico, CA 95929-0400, United States.


A skeleton excavated from the Blossom Mound (CA-SJO-68), a Late Holocene (4350-2980 BP) site located in the northern San Joaquin Valley of California, exhibits evidence of unusual craniofacial and postcranial features consistent with endocrine disease. Burial 37, an adult male approximately 30-40 years of age, shows pronounced development of the mental eminence, glabellar region, and supraorbital arches, as well as elongation of the mandibular ramus, crowding and malocclusion of the anterior dentition, and periosteal bone formation at several enthesis sites. In addition, abnormal enlargement of the sella turcica as well as pneumatization of the frontal and maxillary sinus and mastoid air cells was observed. These skeletal characteristics are consistent with a diagnosis of acromegaly, an endocrine disorder characterized by the enlargement of bone and soft tissue resulting from a pituitary gland tumor that increases the secretion of growth hormone. Onset typically occurs after epiphyseal fusion, a characteristic that distinguishes it from gigantism. This case study utilizes current clinical criteria for diagnosing acromegaly in human skeletal remains and discusses other evidence of this rare condition in the archeological record.


Acromegaly; Endocrine disorders; Prehistoric California


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