Anatomical Science International

, Volume 93, Issue 2, pp 254–261 | Cite as

Prevalence of cribra orbitalia in Pacopampa during the formative period in Peru

  • Tomohito NagaokaEmail author
  • Yuji Seki
  • Kazuhiro Uzawa
  • Mai Takigami
  • Daniel Morales Chocano
Original Article


Cribra orbitalia is characterized by an aggregation of small apertures in the orbital roof in response to marrow hypertrophy. This pathological change is indicative of biological stress during youth. We examined the prevalence of this lesion in Pacopampa, a ceremonial center of the formative period, located in the northern highlands of Peru. Using this evaluation of cribra orbitalia, we reconstructed aspects of the population’s health and nutritional status during the formation of Andean civilization. We examined 41 orbits of 27 adult individuals (13 males, 14 females) and recorded the macroscopic presence or absence of cribra orbitalia. The presence or absence of cribra orbitalia was the same bilaterally for all 14 individuals having both orbits preserved. The pathology was present in two of the 13 males (15.4%), one of the 14 (7.1%) females, and three of 27 individuals (11.1%) for both sexes combined. There was no difference in the frequency between sexes. The prevalence of cribra orbitalia was found to be lower in Pacopampa than in the comparative data of coastal populations. It is reasonable to assume that the increase in social complexity in Pacopampa was probably unrelated to the decline in overall health of the people.


Physiological stress Cribra orbitalia Andean civilization Human osteology 



The authors would like to express their gratitude to Dr. W. Morita, Ms. M. Arata, Ms. N. Nakagawa, and Prof. K. Hirata for invaluable helps and to Prof. H. Yorifuji and Prof. T. Tsurumoto for important suggestions. This study is supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 23222003 and 16H05639.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

The materials and methods of this study did not require approval by the ethics committee of our institute.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Anatomists 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomohito Nagaoka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yuji Seki
    • 2
  • Kazuhiro Uzawa
    • 3
  • Mai Takigami
    • 4
  • Daniel Morales Chocano
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of AnatomySt. Marianna University School of MedicineKawasakiJapan
  2. 2.National Museum of EthnologySuitaJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Human SciencesUniversity of East AsiaShimonosekiJapan
  4. 4.Yamagata UniversityYamagataJapan
  5. 5.Universidad Nacional Mayor de San MarcosLimaPeru

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