Health versus Fitness

  title={Health versus Fitness},
  author={Patricia M Lambert},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  pages={603 - 608}
  • P. Lambert
  • Published 1 October 2009
  • Biology
  • Current Anthropology
The general picture of human health that has emerged from bioarchaeological studies of the agricultural transition is one of health decline, although the nature and severity of the biological impacts have varied in accordance with worldwide diversity in the timing, duration, and specific characteristics of this economic shift. Conversely and somewhat paradoxically, the emerging picture has also been one of enhanced fertility and population growth. These findings raise challenging questions… 

Traumatic injury risk and agricultural transitions: A view from the American Southeast and beyond.

The results of this study support the hypothesis that, with respect to traumatic injury risk, low-intensity farming is a risk-averse subsistence strategy in comparison with full-time foraging or high-intensity agriculture.

An integrative skeletal and paleogenomic analysis of stature variation suggests relatively reduced health for early European farmers

By integrating paleogenomic genotype and osteological stature data on a per-individual basis for 167 prehistoric Europeans, this work observes relatively shorter than expected statures among early farmers after correcting for individual genetic contributions to stature.

Health, cattle and ploughs : Bioarchaeological consequences of the Secondary Products Revolution in southern Sweden, 2300-1100 BCE

In this thesis diet and health of people who lived in southern Sweden 2300-1100 BCE is studied. The study is based on bioarchaeological analyses of human remains from 46 localities in the areas of

Paradox and promise: research on the role of recent advances in paleodemography and paleoepidemiology to the study of "health" in Precolumbian societies.

Methods to analyze age- and sex-specific mortality patterns prior to, and in conjunction with, the analysis of linear enamel hypoplasias are demonstrated and epidemiological models demonstrate that the relationship between adult mortality and early childhood stress varied through space, culture, and time.

Bioarchaeology of Populations: Understanding Adaptation and Resilience

Examples are provided that illuminate different aspects of adaptation and resilience that can be explored at the population level that provide information on how well a group or society is adapting to local and regional conditions.

Indicators of stress and their association with frailty in the precontact Southwestern United States.

Results indicate that CO's presence suggests a more severe underlying condition than PH lesions alone, and CO lesions in any state are associated with greater mortality risk and earlier ages of death.

The Osteological Paradox 20 Years Later: Past Perspectives, Future Directions

The Osteological Paradox is reviewed, finding the paper is often cited but infrequently engaged in a meaningful way, and four areas of fruitful research are identified: intrasite, contextual perspectives, subadults, associating stress markers with demographic phenomena, and skeletal lesion-formation processes.

Agriculture as a major evolutionary transition to human ultrasociality

Viewing agriculture as an ultrasocial transition offers insights not only about the origins of agriculture and its consequences, but also about the forces shaping the current demographic transition and the modern global socio-economic system.

Toward a theory of punctuated subsistence change

A deeper understanding of the interactions of a limited set of variables that control the size of attractors, such as population size, number of dry months, net primary productivity, and settlement fixity, provides new insights into the origin and spread of domesticated species in human economies.



Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture

In 1982, the Conference on Paleopathology and Socioeconomic Change at the Origins of Agriculture was held in Plattsburgh, New York, to examine previously untested theories about how the adoption of

Divergence between Cultural Success and Reproductive Fitness in Preindustrial Cities

The task, then, is to elucidate the nature of the biocultural relationship, particularly needed is unpolemic documentation of how culture interacts with genealogical, reproductive, and demographic patterns under specific sociohistorical conditions.

The Osteological Paradox: Problems of Inferring Prehistoric Health from Skeletal Samples [and Comments and Reply]

Using simple models of the relationship between individual "frailty" and the hazard of death at each age, the skeletal evidence pertaining to the transition from hunting-and-gathering to settled agriculture is equally consistent with an improvement in health and a deterioration i health resulting from the transition.

Estimating mortality in skeletal populations: influence of the growth rate on the interpretation of levels and trends during the transition to agriculture.

The empirical importance of growth rate-dependent mortality estimates is demonstrated by reinterpreting mean-age-at-death data from several populations before and after the agricultural revolution; with detailed consideration given to the Old World populations of Acsadi and Nemeskeri and a New World population from central Illinois.

Physiological Stress in Prehistoric India: New Data on Localized Hypoplasia of Primary Canines Linked to Climate and Subsistence Change

New data on developmental defects of the primary teeth is utilized to evaluate levels of physiological stress in infants and children during the transition from Early to Late Jorwe Periods at Inamgaon and found that primary enamel defects were almost exclusively LHPC, and that very few individuals displayed LEH or other types of enamel defect.

The Modern Demographic Transition: An Analysis of Subsistence Choices and Reproductive Consequences

This paper argues that fertility transition in contemporary societies occurs when changes in the labor market and the opportunity structure produce a situation in which personal material well-being

The conditions of agricultural growth: The economics of agrarian change under population pressure

This book sets out to investigate the process of agrarian change from new angles and with new results. It starts on firm ground rather than from abstract economic theory. Upon its initial appearance,

The myth of syphilis : the natural history of treponematosis in North America

This book brings together a complete picture of the diverse pathological evidence of a bacterial disease manifest in the North American archaeological record at the time of Christopher Columbus's first journey, and presents a strong argument against the earlier identification of modern venereal syphilis with indigenous North American treponemal disease.

Stable Populations and Skeletal Age

It is shown that mean skeletal age is approximately equivalent to the reciprocal of the birth rate and is not correlated with the death rate, so the practice of inferring changes in life span and death rates from changes in mean age at death is not reliable and most conclusions of paleodemographic studies should be revised.