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Bones Hint at Life in Bronze-Age Mongolia

Friday, January 11, 2019

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND—According to a report in Science Magazine, an international team of scientists led by Sarah Karstens of the University of Auckland examined 25 sets of remains of people who lived in Mongolia between about 3,500 and 2,700 years ago for signs of health. The researchers found very little evidence of inflammation or infection in the bones, or signs of diseases brought on by malnutrition, such as rickets or scurvy. Injuries commonly inflicted through fights or falls from horseback, such as broken noses, ribs, and legs, were detected in the bones, however. Wear and tear associated with horseback riding was also seen in the people’s spines. Karstens and her colleagues concluded that Bronze-Age Mongolians probably lived in small nomadic groups that enjoyed plenty of exercise and avoided living near accumulations of their own waste. For more, go to “In Search of History's Great Rulers: Genghis Khan, Founder of the Mongol Empire.”

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