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PATTERNS OF ADULT MORTALITY IN THE ORKNEY ISLANDS (SCOTLAND)

By EVELYN JOY BOWERS

Abstract

This study examines changes, continuities, and internal contrasts in mortality distributions, focusing on the mature part of the life cycle. Some factors that bring about and stem from population structure, in particular disease patterns, are considered for seven areas of the Orkney Islands: Birsay, Burray, Deerness, Hoy and South Walls, Kirkwall and St. Ola, Sanday and South Ronaldsay, for 1860-1964. This study provides a body of diachronic observations on the population biology and vital statistics of one of the rare, small, isolated, subdivided populations with a largely undisrupted culture for which such data are available. It uses an ecological genetic approach to examine the length of lives, aging, and causes of death in adults, and differences in the mortality experience of men and women. It considers the possible selective factors involved in these processes. This study showed that there are persistant differences between certain regions of Orkney which probably have a biological basis. It found a consistent modal age at death for Orkney men and women in the different parts and times suggesting selective maintenance of this population characteristic. A hypothesis concerning sex linkage of genes involved in longevity was tested with equivocal results. This study indicated that the ecological genetic approach to biocultural ecosystems is a useful methodology for anthropology and human biology

Topics: Physical anthropology
Publisher: ScholarlyCommons
Year: 1983
OAI identifier: oai:repository.upenn.edu:dissertations-8434
Provided by: ScholarlyCommons@Penn
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