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October 2022

Anthropol Anz. 1992 Sep; 50(3): 201-15.

Ancient skeletal remains of the Canary Islands: bone histology and chemical analysis.

González-Reimers E, Arnay-de-la-Rosa M.

Hospital Universitario de Canarias, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

Prehispanic burials from the Canary Islands are often well preserved. Many of the bodies are mummified, most of them were not interred, but deposited in caves. Bone histological and trace element analysis of 117 skeletons of the prehispanic period of the Canary Islands was performed. In some of the islands we have found a high prevalence of osteoporosis, whereas in others, histomorphometrically assessed trabecular bone mass (TBM) (in undecalcified iliac crest specimens) was in the normal range. Bone trace elements analysis have shown high bone S(r), Mg and Mn, and low Fe, Zn and Cu in those skeletons with a more reduced TBM. These facts speak for a relative protein-calorie malnutrition and a consumption of a mainly vegetarian diet. This is especially marked in the skeletons from Gran Canaria.

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