This dissertation reports on an investigation of the nature of progressive changes in the acetabulum, with the goal of determining whether they are metamorphic or degenerative and ascertaining whether they are useful for the estimation of age of death.
The author of this dissertation reports on a research project that aimed to determine whether progressive changes in acetabulum are metamorphic or degenerative and also whether those changes are useful for the estimation of age at death. If degenerative, the author notes that changes could be linked with osteoarthritis, which is potentially affected by factors like physical activity and obesity, and would be deemed less useful for skeletal age estimation. In order to investigate those problems, the author analyzed a sample of 409 female and male European-American skeletal individuals. The author observed and scored acetabular changes and osteoarthritis; compared those data with documented demographic data, including age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and habitual or occupational activities; and compared statistical tests of acetabular changes with age, osteoarthritis, activity, and obesity data. Results indicated that acetabular changes correlate strongly positively with osteoarthritis and age, and they are relatively resistant to the effects of obesity and physical activity. Osteoarthritis also showed strong positive correlations with age and exhibited limited positive correlations with obesity but no relationship with activity. The author concludes that the disease likely has both biomechanical and systemic components; degenerative changes of the acetabulum are valid skeletal indicators of age; the etiology of osteoarthritis is multifactorial, but age is a contributing factor; physical activity may in some cases improve joint health; and weight loss and exercises should be considered palliative for both osteoarthritis and obesity.