The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Significance of the UI-Stanford Collection


1Anthropology, University of Kansas, 2Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa

Saturday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

The UI-Stanford Collection, currently housed in the UI Office State Archaeologist, is the third largest collection of human remains in North America and holds more than 1,100 individuals. Specimens were collected in Stanford, California between 1920-1950 to be studied by the medical university. Documentation records include information on date and place of birth, date and place of death, medical history, primary cause of death, contributory cause of death, occupation, and length of residence at place of death. This collection remains largely unknown and under-studied by researchers. One of the few recent studies was a macroscopic investigation of pathology in the collection. There are 243 individuals with pathology. Pathology in the collection includes osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, periostitis, and fractures. Further investigation of fractures found 113 total fractures within 75 individuals. A majority of these fractures occur in the fibula. The UI-Stanford Collection comes from a pre-antibiotic and pre-modern health care era, which makes it useful as an evolutionary comparison with prehistoric and historic humans. The collection includes individuals from Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines, and Mexico, but does not include any Native Americans. The UI-Stanford Collection possesses unique characteristics that are useful for study. This includes but is not limited to a large number of pathological specimens, a diversity of individuals with varying biological affinities, and immunity from major ethical dilemmas facing other collections resulting from acts like NAGPRA, and it would be beneficial for future researchers to take advantage of this underutilized collection.

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