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Ref ID: 24599
Ref Type: Book Section
Authors: Armelagos, George J.
Title: You are what you eat
Date: 1994
Source: Paleonutrition: the diet and health of prehistoric Americans
Place of Publication: Carbondale
Publisher: Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University
Abstract: Paleopathology makes three major contributions to paleonutrition: 1) it delimits the chronology and geography of nutritional deficiency
2) it reconstructs the dietary lifestyle of a society by analyzing patterns of nutritional morbidity and mortality and by measuring the success of a population's adjustement to its environment
and 3) it explores the processes involved in the occurrence of nutritional deficiencies within a population. Goodman (1994) agrees that LEH is not a dietary indicator but counters that it is evidence of nutritional inadequacies that may be related to diet, disease or both. A research, seeing signs of stress and knowing that the human body reacts homeostatically has serious implications because the biological cost of the stressor to the individual or to other levels in the system is ignored. In factm there is ample evidence as to the cost of pathological conditions such as porotic hyperostosis and LEH (e.g., Huss et al 1982
Mensforth et al 1978). Paleopathologists traditionally use deductive methods to reconstruct the factors that cause a disease. While the dedcutive approach is useful, there are inherent limitations. It is not possible, using the deductive method, to falsify conclusion. In other words, there are many interpretations that can explain the data, and there is no way to exclude any of them. There are four stages in the development of the strong inference approach: 1) devise alternative hypotheses, 2) devise experiments to exclude one or more of the hypotheses, 3) carry out experiments to get "clean results," and 4) recycle the procedure. The application of the scientific method using strong inference can be enhanced by the use of multiple stress indicators that exist at differentlevels of analysis (ecosystem, population, individual, organ, tissue, cell, or chemical constituents of the cell - i.e., collagen and apatite crystals).
Date Created: 7/5/2001
Editors: Sobolik, Kristin D.
Number: 22
Page Start: 235
Page End: 244
Series Title: Occasional Paper