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Class Notes: Human Osteology

Monday: January 9, 2012

Week 15: Taphonomy

Tuesday:

Since we covered taph the week before, this week was actually centered on case studies and final review. The case studies came directly out of our textbook Human Osteology, so I won’t go into detail here (see the Library page for more information). What we got out of the individual cases was that taphonomy was highly important in a forensic case involving burned bones. The key to bioarchaeology is understanding issues like osteoarthritis at a population level. Only and entire suite of patterns can indicate cannibalism. The oldest known cemetery likely belonged to Homo heidelbergensis, 200,000 years ago (and man oh man, what a crazy complex dig that must be! Google Sima de los Huesos, you shan’t be sorry.)

Thursday:

Dr. S set up more stations, mostly involving paleopathology and taphonomy again. I spent a good portion of class (and later much of the entire day) with the bones I failed the most on: frags of the sphenoid, metatarsals and metacarpals, and long bone shafts.

Friday:

Our skeletal reports were due, and my ex situ commingled stuff was just nearly finished (which was ok since I had already completed the baby). I spent much of the entire day again studying. I was grateful this week that so many undergrads were in the lab. They kept me alive by feeding me with their swipes and entertaining my brain before I got burnt out. Was I ready for the final? No way. Lefts and rights. Rights and lefts. Siding was not my friend, but what more could I do?

Since this post is delayed, I do happen to know my score. It was not what I wanted. It was a high B. What kind of osteologist am I to become?? I was pretty down and out about it. (As my advisor well knows, I think of an A as passing, a B as barely worth it, and a C as failure – this is grad school, yo!) But as all my scores came in, between the tests, quizzes, and skelly projects, I rounded out with an A after all. Phew.

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2 remarks!

  1. Good for you. I knew you could it. Got the A!
    Please don’t embarrase me with a ‘B’.
    I know you won’t…so keep going.

  2. No pressure! ;)

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