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Studying bones from prehistoric population

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. As a biological anthropologist, Sabrina Agarwal of the University of California, Berkeley, studies skeletons from earlier human populations to get a better understanding of how bones age.

Agarwal:        At the moment I'm very interested in looking at prehistoric populations, so one of the things I'm looking at a Neolithic-dated population, about 10,000 years ago in central Turkey where they'd just settled down from being hunter-gatherers and having that lifestyle to living in one spot, to being sedentary and yet, they still have this kind of mix of having agricultural foods and yet hunting and gathering foods and having that transition of lifestyle.

Narrator:       By studying ancient bones, Agarwal says researchers can understand how diseases, such as osteoporosis, have evolved.

Agarwal:        But also, trying to understand the ideology of diseases under different lifestyles and regimes. Because of course people in the past had very different lifestyles from our own; our kind of classic modern lifestyle is something that's kind of an aberration. It's a very small part of how probably most humans have lived through most of human evolution.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.