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Tropical Ulcer on a Human Tibia from 5000 Years Ago in Northern Italy

Authors

  • M. Micheletti Cremasco,

    1. Department of Life Science and Systems Biology, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
    2. Civico Museo Federico Eusebio, Alba (Cuneo), Italy
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  • F. Merlo,

    1. Department of Life Science and Systems Biology, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
    2. Civico Museo Federico Eusebio, Alba (Cuneo), Italy
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  • E. Fulcheri,

    1. Civico Museo Federico Eusebio, Alba (Cuneo), Italy
    2. Pathological Anatomy, University of Genova, Genova, Italy
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  • B. M. Rothschild

    Corresponding author
    1. Biodiversity Institute and Department of Anthropology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA
    2. Department of Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, OH, USA
    • Correspondence to: M. Rothschild, Bruce Rothschild, Biodiversity Center, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA.

      e-mail: bmr@ku.edu

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Abstract

The term tropical ulcer, as applied to bone pathology, describes the specific pathologic phenomenon of the presence of a well-defined osteomatous shelf formation on the anteromedial aspect of the tibia. Despite the appellation ‘tropical,’ this pathology is not geographically limited to tropical regions, although it has not previously been reported from continental Europe. Observations of a 4583 BP burial from the Tanaro River area of Northern Italy represent the first such case. Dating of the site to the time of climate change at the end of the first Glacial suggests that hot–warm, humid conditions may have allowed the occurrence of this bone pathology, the first observed in continental Europe. A second explanation is the possible migration of an individual to Italy from an area that is more conventionally considered tropical. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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