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The skeletal effects of historical transitions in lifestyle


In the last 10 millennia humans have changed the way we live, moving from mobile hunter-gathering to farming and the urban living we are most familiar with today. Since 2008 more than 50% of the global population live in cities. But what effect has this had on our bodies? Understanding how we have adapted to past transitions is vital to interpreting archaeological remains and to anticipate the physical effects of this ongoing modern transition to a highly technologically dependent urban species. The goal of TRANSITIONS is to develop the research capacities of the European Fellow, in his broad area of interest in human variation and evolution. It will provide advanced training in the context and study of the skeletal consequences of changes in lifestyle and activity through a series of defined objectives for resaerch and training that compare skeletal form and function within and between past populations with different subsistence and lifestyle strategies; hunter gatherers, agriculturalists and urban dwellers. The results will provide new insights into how different lifestyles and their functional consequences affect skeletal form. Multiple factors impact on the skeleton, yet there is a discernible, consistent trend with increasing modernity towards ‘gracilization’. Thus, despite the multifactorial causes, to what extent are skeletal effects similar or different between transitions to agriculture and to urban or other ways of life? The answer will reflect how flexible our responses are to similar and different pressures and the extent to which we can use knowledge of historical transitions to interpret archaeological material and anticipate current and future ones. As well as providing advanced training by applying cutting-edge techniques, The ER will be supervised and trained in broader aspects of academic activity, knowledge transfer and career development, enabling him to position himself as a potential research leader.
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Yo10 5dd York North Yorkshire

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 212 933,76

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 835571


Ongoing project

  • Start date

    2 September 2019

  • End date

    1 September 2021

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 212 933,76

  • EU contribution

    € 212 933,76

Coordinated by:


United Kingdom