Skeletal biological distance studies in American Physical Anthropology: Recent trends

Jane E. Buikstra, Susan R. Frankenberg, Lyle W. Konigsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biological distance analysis, the dominant type of skeletal biological research during the 19th century, has become less visible in recent years. Although the proportion of American Journal of Physical Anthropology articles and published abstracts focusing on biodistance has remained fairly constant over the three decades between 1955 and 1985, the proportion of biodistance contributions relative to other skeletal biology studies has decreased. Emphasis in skeletal biology has shifted from the analysis of biological variation to investigations of health and diet, and within biodistance studies methodological issues have assumed prominence over purely analytical approaches. This paper investigates trends in biological distance analysis through a survey of articles and meetings abstracts published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology from 1955 to 1985. The survey provides the historical context for five symposium papers on skeletal biological distance presented at the 1986 meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodistance
  • Biological variation
  • skeletal variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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