Ep. 10: Dr. Sara Becker – Bioarchaeology

Dr. Becker with Illimani in the background. Courtesy of Dr. Becker.


Dr. Sara Becker of UC – Riverside studies the Tiwanaku culture of Lake Titicaca. She specializes in understanding hierarchy and labor patterns via physical activity markers on the bone. She combines modern ethnographic methods with archaeology and biological anthropology to understand ancient cultures.


Extra educational photos

Frost’s Mechanostat (Utah Paradigm)

Image from Wikipedia.

The above figure illustrates how bone responds to stress. Below a certain threshold of strain, humans will lose bone. In the adapted state, bone mass will remain constant. Once sufficient loads are placed on bone, cells will respond by building bone. If the loads exceed the mechanical limits of the bone, fracture will occur.

If you’d like to learn more about bone modeling and remodeling, I strongly recommend this article by Robling and Turner.

Unilateral asymmetry in arm wrestlers

Arm wrestler Matthias Schlitte. (Image from Croatia Week. Used solely for educational purposes.)
Arm wrestler Jeff Dabe. (Image from the Huffington Post. Used solely for educational purposes.)

Reference articles

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