Two cases of skeletal dysplasia from New Kingdom (c. 1400-1050 BCE) Tombos, Sudan

Int J Paleopathol. 2019 Sep:26:135-144. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2019.07.006. Epub 2019 Aug 1.


Objective: This project investigates two cases of skeletal dysplasia from archaeological excavations of the New Kingdom Period (c. 1400-1050 BCE) portion of the Tombos cemetery in Sudan.

Materials: Fair to well-preserved skeletal remains of two individuals, one adult and one juvenile, are examined here.

Methods: All available skeletal elements were analyzed macroscopically. A differential diagnosis was conducted for each individual.

Results: The adult individual, U36.Sh2.B10, displays bilateral mesomelic dysplasia and Madelung's deformity. The juvenile individual, U36.Sh2.B5, also displays bilateral mesomelic dysplasia and characteristics associated with Madelung's deformity.

Conclusions: A differential diagnosis of Léri-Weill dyschondrosteosis (LWD) is suggested for the adult female individual (U36.Sh2.B10). The second case (U36.Sh2.B5) is an approximately three to five-year-old individual and is difficult to diagnose given the young age; however, LWD remains the most likely diagnosis.

Significance: There are few cases of LWD in the paleopathological literature, and fewer still of juveniles. The cases described are useful examples in expanding research demonstrating the variability in the expression of skeletal dysplasias in juveniles and adults.

Limitations: Taphonomic alterations and fragmentation of the crania and portions of the postcrania limited the observation of the full suite of characteristics associated with skeletal dysplasias. U36.Sh2.B5 is difficult to diagnose given the individual's young age and the possibility that this individual had not yet developed the more observable characteristics associated with these conditions.

Suggestions for further research: Researchers are encouraged to continue examining the range of expression of skeletal dysplasias in juveniles and adults.

Keywords: Congenital; Disproportionate dwarfism; Egypt; Juvenile; Léri–Weill dyschondrosteosis; Madelung’s deformity; Nubia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / history*
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Osteochondrodysplasias / history*
  • Sudan

Supplementary concepts

  • Leri-Weil syndrome
  • Madelung Deformity