Osteology is the scientific study of bones. A subdiscipline of anatomy, anthropology, and archeology, osteology is a detailed study of the structure of bones, skeletal elements, teeth, morphology, function, disease, pathology, the process of ossification (from cartilaginous molds), the resistance and hardness of bones (biophysics), etc. often used by scientists with identification of human remains with regard to age, death, sex, growth, and development in a biocultural context.



A typical analysis will include:

  • an inventory of the skeletal elements present
  • a dental inventory
  • aging data, based upon epiphyseal fusion and dental eruption (for subadults) and deterioration of the pubic symphysis or sternal end of ribs (for adults)
  • stature and other metric data
  • ancestry
  • non-metric traits
  • pathology and/or cultural modifications


Compared Osteology Room in Natural History Museum of La Plata, Argentina.

Osteological approaches are frequently applied to investigations in disciplines such as forensic science, physical anthropology and archaeology, and has a place in research on topics including:

See also


  • Bass, W. M. 2005. Human Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual. 5th Edition. Columbia: Missouri Archaeological Society.
  • Buikstra, J. E. and Ubelaker, D. H. (eds.) 1994. Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains. Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Series No. 44.
  • Cox, M and Mays, S. (eds.) 2000. Human Osteology in Archaeology and Forensic Science. London: Greenwich Medical Media.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Osteology — Os te*ol o*gy, n. [Osteo + logy: cf. F. ost[ e]ologie.] The science which treats of the bones of the vertebrate skeleton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • osteology — [äs΄tē äl′ə jē] n. [ModL: see OSTEO & LOGY] the study of the structure and function of bones osteological [äs΄tē äl′ō läj′i kəl] adj. osteologist n …   English World dictionary

  • osteology —   n. study of bones; bony structure.    ♦ osteoarthritis, n. degenerative arthritis.    ♦ osteoblastic, a. pertaining to formation of bone.    ♦ osteochondrous, a. pertaining to bone and cartilage.    ♦ osteoclasis, n. surgical breaking of bone.… …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • osteology — noun Etymology: New Latin osteologia, from Greek, description of bones, from oste + logia logy Date: 1670 1. a branch of anatomy dealing with the bones 2. the bony structure of an organism • osteological adjective • osteologist noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • osteology — study of the structure and development of bones …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • osteology — osteological /os tee euh loj i keuhl/, osteologic, adj. osteologically, adv. osteologist, n. /os tee ol euh jee/, n. the branch of anatomy dealing with the skeleton. [1660 70; < NL osteologia. See OSTEO , LOGY] * * * …   Universalium

  • osteology — noun a) the scientific study of the morphology and pathology of bones b) the bone structure of a particular individual, or species See Also: osteological, osteologically, osteologis …   Wiktionary

  • osteology — The anatomy of the bones; the science concerned with the bones and their structure. SYN: osteologia. [osteo + G. logos, study] * * * os·te·ol·o·gy .äs tē äl ə jē n, pl gies 1) a branch of anatomy dealing with the bones 2) the …   Medical dictionary

  • osteology — study of bones Sciences and Studies …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • osteology — n. study of the skeleton, study of bonesos·te·ol·o·gy || ‚ɑstɪ É‘lÉ™dʒɪ /‚ɒstɪ É’ …   English contemporary dictionary

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