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Prehistoric eye disease (trachoma?) in Australian Aborigines
American Journal of Physical Anthropology (1990)
  • Steve Webb, Bond University

This paper discusses an as yet undescribed lesion of the orbit in Australian Aboriginal skeletal populations. The rather high frequency and geographical distribution of the lesion suggests an association with a common, chronic eye infection. Using differential diagnosis to eleminate a variety of ophthalmic conditions, it is proposed that chronic trachoma may be a possible causative agent. Distribution of the lesion follows that of trachoma among contemporary Aboriginal people, with the highest frequencies occurring in the hotter, arid portions of the Australian continent. It is positively correlated with age, with higher frequencies in older people; it is almost completely absent among sub-adults. The antiquity of the lesion is demonstrated by its appearance among late Pleistocene human remains.

  • Eye disease,
  • palaeopathology,
  • palaeoepidemiology
Publication Date
January 1, 1990
Publisher Statement

Citation only

Webb, S. (1990). Prehistoric eye disease (trachoma?) in Australian Aborigines. American Journal of Physical Anthroplogy, 81 (1), 91-100.

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© Copyright Wiley-Liss, Inc., 1990

Citation Information
Steve Webb. "Prehistoric eye disease (trachoma?) in Australian Aborigines" American Journal of Physical Anthropology Vol. 81 Iss. 1 (1990)
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