A congenital meningocoele in prehistoric Australia

  • Webb S
  • Thorne A
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Abstract

This report concerns a congenital meningocoele in a young adult Aboriginal female from north-western New South Wales, Australia. The fact that this individual reached adulthood throws new light on the attitude of these nomadic people towards such conditions. Evidence of this kind may prompt also a re-evaluation by prehistorians and anthropologists of the popularly held belief that all such malformations were automatically eliminated by infanticide. The discovery of this form of pathology helps provide new information not only on past cultural attitudes towards disease, but its frequency and geographical incidence, and adds to our knowledge concerning the range of pathological conditions suffered by prehistoric societies worldwide.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Australian Aboriginal
  • Congenital disease
  • Meningocoele
  • Palaeopathology

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Authors

  • Stephen G. Webb

  • Alan G. Thorne

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