Emma Pomeroy

Emma Pomeroy
University of Cambridge | Cam · Department of Archaeology

PhD, University of Cambridge

About

79
Publications
24,010
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1,751
Citations
Citations since 2016
43 Research Items
1187 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
Introduction
My primary research interests concern the relationship between human morphology and both social and natural environments. Understanding these interactions has great potential to inform us about the nature of human adaptation and adaptability, and the consequences of economic variation and social interaction for human health and biology. I take an interdisciplinary approach combining work with human skeletons from archaeological sites and studies of contemporary populations.

Publications

Publications (79)
Article
Full-text available
Research on Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer diet has focused on the consumption of animals. Evidence for the use of plant foods is comparatively limited but is rapidly expanding. The authors present an analysis of carbonised macro-remains of processed plants from Franchthi Cave in the Aegean Basin and Shanidar Cave in the north-west Zagros Mountains....
Article
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Few human burials from Sri Lankan archaeological contexts have been described. Here we report on the analysis of two early Holocene skeletons, FH8, a young adult female skeleton excavated from Fa Hien-lena and dated to 10,640-10,139 cal BP, and BK1, a middle adult male skeleton excavated at Kuragala and dated to 7,170-6,950 cal BP. The skeletons ar...
Article
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- English The postcranial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis (AL 288-1) exhibits clear adaptations for bipedality, although there is some debate as to the efficiency and frequency of such upright movement. Some researchers argue that AL 288-1 walked with an erect limb like modern humans do, whilst others advocate for a “bent-hip bent-knee” (BHB...
Article
Résumé Le Moustérien du Zagros est un complexe lithique techno-typologique du Paléolithique moyen trouvé dans les montagnes du Zagros, en Irak et en Iran. Il est associé à des restes squelettiques de Néandertaliens dans quatre sites archéologiques, dont le plus célèbre est la grotte de Shanidar. Sa chronologie pose problème, mais tout porte à croir...
Article
Objectives Intraspecific shape variation in the recent Homo sapiens bony labyrinth has been assessed for association with sexual dimorphism, body size, and genetic differences, but has not been fully assessed for association with extrinsic factors, such as subsistence strategy and climate. While the skull overall is known to vary with these variabl...
Article
Full-text available
Worldwide variation in human stature and limb proportions is widely accepted to reflect thermal adaptation, but the contribution of population history to this variation is unknown. Furthermore, stature and relative lower limb length (LLL) show substantial plastic responses to environmental stressors, e.g., nutrition, pathogen load, which covary wit...
Article
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The emergence of the capacity to digest milk in some populations represents a landmark in human evolution, linking genetic change with a component of niche construction, namely dairying. Alleles promoting continued activity of the enzyme lactase through the life-course (lactase persistence) evolved in several global regions within the last 7,000 ye...
Article
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Objective to provide a comprehensive seasonal analysis of pregnant mothers’ eating behaviour and maternal/newborn nutritional status in an undernourished population from lowland rural Nepal, where weather patterns, agricultural labour, food availability and disease prevalence vary seasonally. Design Secondary analysis of cluster-randomized Low Bir...
Article
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Since Myers (1915) coined the term ‘shell shock’ to define the prolonged suffering of soldiers returning from the Great War, the psychological and physical result of distressing experiences, known as trauma, has been of academic interest. Transgenerational transmission of trauma effects has been recorded, demonstrating that on some level, the expos...
Article
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We present stable isotope and osteological data from human remains at Paloma, Chilca I, La Yerba III, and Morro I that offer new evidence for diet, lifestyle, and habitual mobility in the first villages that proliferated along the arid Pacific coast of South America (ca. 6000 cal BP). The data not only reaffirm the dietary primacy of marine protein...
Article
The end of the Pleistocene in Southwest Asia is widely known for the emergence of socially-complex hunter-gatherers—the Natufians—characterized by a rich material culture record, including elaborate burials. In comparison, human interments that predate the Natufian are rare. The discovery and excavation of a hut structure at the 20,000-year-old Epi...
Article
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Maternal malnutrition during gestation and lactation is known to have adverse effects on offspring. We evaluate the impact of maternal diet on offspring bony labyrinth morphology. The bony labyrinth develops early and is thought to be stable to protect vital sensory organs within. For these reasons, bony labyrinth morphology has been used extensive...
Article
Full-text available
Worldwide variation in human stature and limb proportions is widely accepted to reflect thermal adaptation, but the contribution of population history to this variation is unknown. Furthermore, stature and relative lower limb length (LLL) show substantial plastic responses to environmental stressors, e.g., nutrition, pathogen load, which covary wit...
Article
Full-text available
During the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, Spanish ships sailed around the globe connecting Spain to its colonies. While documentary records offer rich details concerning life on board ship, archaeological information is essential to generating a full picture of the past. The cemetery at Old St Bernard’s Hospital, Gibraltar, provides an opportun...
Article
A nuanced portrait of our evolutionary cousins encourages empathy and understanding
Article
The Atlantic Western Pyrenean area is exceptionally rich in archaeological evidence of funerary contexts dated to Late Prehistory. These funerary deposits are mainly recorded in caves and megalithic structures. Burials attributed to the Holocene have been recorded in more than 187 caves (177 just in Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia), reflecting the relevance o...
Article
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Mortuary behavior (activities concerning dead conspecifics) is one of many traits that were previously widely considered to have been uniquely human, but on which perspectives have changed markedly in recent years. Theoretical approaches to hominin mortuary activity and its evolution have undergone major revision, and advances in diverse archeologi...
Article
Lumentxa is a classic site in Basque Prehistory, excavated in three different phases during the 20th century, which has yielded evidence of both Pleistocene and Holocene occupations. In this article, we present a detailed study of the human remains from this site including paleobiological, taphonomic, biomechanical and chronological perspectives. T...
Article
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Osipov and colleagues [American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2(151) 2013] previously posited that the dimensions of the bony labyrinth exhibit sexual dimorphism. Using a recent sample of known sex, they produced an age-independent, multivariate equation to predict biological sex using several of these dimensions. We aim to test the applicabili...
Article
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Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan became an iconic Palaeolithic site after Ralph Solecki’s discoveries in 1951-1960 of 10 Neanderthals, some of whom he argued had died in rockfalls and others–controversially–buried with formal burial rites, including one with flowers. New excavations began in 2015. In 2018 the team discovered the articulated upper b...
Article
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Living South Asians have low lean tissue mass relative to height, which contributes to their elevated type 2 diabetes susceptibility, particularly when accompanied by obesity. While ongoing lifestyle transitions account for rising obesity, the origins of low lean mass remain unclear. We analysed proxies for lean mass and stature among South Asian s...
Article
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Body mass prediction from the skeleton most commonly employs femoral head diameter (FHD). However, theoretical predictions and empirical data suggest the relationship between mass and FHD is strongest in young adults, that bone dimensions reflect lean mass better than body or fat mass and that other femoral measurements may be superior. Here, we ge...
Article
In 2014, during construction work at the ex-Civil Hospital in Gibraltar, excavations led by the Gibraltar Museum revealed a major, previously unknown burial ground containing more than 200 skeletons. We present the historical, archaeological and radiometric dating evidence from the site alongside the results of initial osteological analyses. The da...
Article
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The multi-stress environment of high altitude has been associated with growth deficits in humans, particularly in zeugopod elements (forearm and lower leg). This is consistent with the thrifty phenotype hypothesis, which has been observed in Andeans, but has yet to be tested in other high-altitude populations. In Himalayan populations, other factor...
Article
Objectives: Stature estimation from the skeleton is a classic anthropological problem, and recent years have seen the proliferation of population-specific regression equations. Many rely on the anatomical reconstruction of stature from archaeological skeletons to derive regression equations based on long bone lengths, but this requires a collection...
Article
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Understanding the timing and character of the expansion of Homo sapiens out of Africa is critical for inferring the colonization and admixture processes that underpin global population history. It has been argued that dispersal out of Africa had an early phase, particularly ~130–90 thousand years ago (ka), that reached only the East Mediterranean L...
Article
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Research in the Andes has yielded evidence for a complex association between settlement sites and mortuary monuments, tied to concepts of death, ancestor veneration and water. The Huaylas-Inca and later Spanish colonial site of Kipia in the Cordillera Negra of the Ancash Highlands, North-Central Andes is a multi-faceted site, that contains a small...
Article
Understanding the timing and character of the expansion of Homo sapiens out of Africa is critical for inferring the colonization and admixture processes that underpin global population history. It has been argued that dispersal out of Africa had an early phase, particularly ~130–90 thousand years ago (ka), that reached only the East Mediterranean L...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Estimating body mass from skeletal dimensions is widely practiced, but methods for estimating its components (lean and fat mass) are poorly developed. The ability to estimate these characteristics would offer new insights into the evolution of body composition and its variation relative to past and present health. This study investigat...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Estimating body mass from skeletal dimensions is widely practiced, but methods for estimating its components (lean and fat mass) are poorly developed. The ability to estimate these characteristics would offer new insights into the evolution of body composition and its variation relative to past and present health. This study investigates...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Stature estimation from the skeleton is a classic anthropological problem, and recent years have seen the proliferation of population‐specific regression equations. Many rely on the anatomical reconstruction of stature from archaeological skeletons to derive regression equations based on long bone lengths, but this requires a collection...
Article
The Neanderthal remains from Shanidar Cave, excavated between 1951 and 1960, have played a central role in debates concerning diverse aspects of Neanderthal morphology and behaviour. In 2015 and 2016, renewed excavations at the site uncovered hominin remains from the immediate area where the partial skeleton of Shanidar 5 was found in 1960. Shanida...
Poster
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In this study we examine trabecular structure in the talus of great apes, four modern human populations, and a Neandertal, to assess how internal trabecular structure correlates with locomotor mode and terrestrial mobility.
Poster
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Excavations in 2014 at the old St. Bernard’s Hospital site, Gibraltar, revealed a previously unknown cemetery containing over 200 single and multiple burials. A hospital was founded at this site in 1567 to treat sailors, before a British military take over in 1704 and the building’s conversion into barracks by 1754. It was reconverted into a civili...
Article
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India has rapidly become a “diabetes capital” of the world, despite maintaining high rates of under-nutrition. Indians develop diabetes at younger age and at lower body weights than other populations. Here, we interpret these characteristics in terms of a “capacity–load” model of glucose homeostasis. Specifically, we assume that glycemic control de...
Chapter
The obstetric dilemma (OD) proposes that women have a prolonged, painful childbirth with high risks of obstructed labour and consequent maternal and neonatal deaths because our species’ large brain size and bipedal gait place opposing selective pressures on pelvic size and shape. While widely cited in the anthropological and medical literature, the...
Presentation
Full-text available
The Homo sapiens bony labyrinth (inner ear), cranial base, vault, and face develop in approximate succession and retain relative morphological and developmental independence despite integration. We hypothesize that levels of fluctuating asymmetry (FA) in these regions will correlate positively with the time it takes a region to reach adult morpholo...
Presentation
Full-text available
Adult body size reflects both genotype and environmental conditions during development. Using body size as a marker of developmental stress exposure in past populations may therefore be confounded by genetic differences. The auditory bony labyrinth completes growth by the 19th fetal week, so may reflect genetic growth potential. Previous studies sh...
Article
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Native Andean ancestry gives partial protection from reduced birthweight at high altitude in the Andes compared with European ancestry. Whether Andean ancestry is also associated with body proportions and greater postnatal body size at altitude is unknown. Therefore, we tested whether a greater proportion of Andean ancestry is associated with statu...
Article
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The patterns of association between maternal or paternal and neonatal phenotype may offer insight into how neonatal characteristics are shaped by evolutionary processes, such as conflicting parental interests in fetal investment and obstetric constraints. Paternal interests are theoretically served by maximizing fetal growth, and maternal interests...
Article
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Background Low birth weight has been consistently associated with adult chronic disease risk. The thrifty phenotype hypothesis assumes that reduced fetal growth impacts some organs more than others. However, it remains unclear how birth weight relates to different body components, such as circumferences, adiposity, body segment lengths and limb pro...
Article
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Background The causes of the “dual burden” of stunting and obesity remain unclear, and its existence at the individual level varies between populations. We investigate whether the individual dual burden differentially affects low socioeconomic status Peruvian children from contrasting environments (urban lowlands and rural highlands), and whether t...
Article
Associations between season of birth and body size, morbidity, and mortality have been widely documented, but it is unclear whether different parts of the body are differentially sensitive, and if such effects persist through childhood. This may be relevant to understanding the relationship between early life environment and body size and proportio...
Article
Full-text available
The relative influences of hypoxia and other environmental stressors on growth at altitude remain unclear. Previous work demonstrated an association between peripheral arterial oxygen saturation (Sp O2 ) and anthropometry (especially tibia length) among Tibetan and Han children at altitude. We investigated whether similar associations exist among A...
Article
Long distance trade has been attributed important social and economic roles in the pre-colonial south-central Andes, but how these trade networks were operated and organised, and the roles played by different populations and social groups (e.g. elites), remain uncertain. This study aims to offer new perspective on these questions through biomechani...
Data
Percentage differences between populations (lowland-highland) in mean raw measurements by age group. (DOC)
Data
Differences between populations (lowland-highland) in mean z scores by age group. Standard error of the difference given in brackets. (DOC)
Data
Differences between populations (lowland-highland) in mean raw measurements by age group. Standard error of the difference given in brackets. (DOC)
Data
Summary statistics for anthropometric variables age group for lowland (L, n = 247) and highland (H, n = 200) children. Data presented as ‘mean (standard deviation)’, n presented as ‘lowland, highland’. (DOC)
Article
Full-text available
Background and methods: Both the concept of 'brain-sparing' growth and associations between relative lower limb length, childhood environment and adult disease risk are well established. Furthermore, tibia length is suggested to be particularly plastic under conditions of environmental stress. The mechanisms responsible are uncertain, but three hy...
Article
Adult stature and body mass represent fundamental biological characteristics of individuals and populations, as they are relevant to a range of problems from assessing nutrition and health to longer term evolutionary processes. Stature and body mass estimation from skeletal dimensions are therefore key to addressing biological and social questions...
Article
Full-text available
To identify susceptibility loci for ankylosing spondylitis, we undertook a genome-wide association study in 2,053 unrelated ankylosing spondylitis cases among people of European descent and 5,140 ethnically matched controls, with replication in an independent cohort of 898 ankylosing spondylitis cases and 1,518 controls. Cases were genotyped with I...
Article
The Visual Assessment of the Spine Bruckel Instrument (VASBI) is a new status tool developed by the Spondylitis Association of America and the University of Toronto to reflect spinal appearance in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Our objective was to validate the VASBI according to the Outcome Measures in Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinical Tri...