“A protruding brow, lantern jaw, thick leg and arm bones”, and incredibly crowded teeth were all characteristics of a recently found 3,800-year-old skeleton as reported by Western Digs. Each feature points to one likely cause: acromegaly, a disease much like gigantism in that the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood.
The skeleton was found in California and researches believe this may be one of the first humans with a condition of this kind.
In fact, this find will help researchers learn more about this disease and its history.
The findings are believed to be of a man who would have died in his mid-30s, and was found at a site with more than 175 other bodies. Research indicates that the man is a former hunter-gatherer and was a member of the “Windmiller” culture.
Acromegaly differs from gigantism because unlike gigantism, acromegaly usually begins affecting people during their early adulthood, once long bones have finished developing and growing. It’s a condition that typically affects hands, feet, and the face because bone development is still possible after childhood and adolescence.
It can take about 10 years before someone might notice changes in facial structure or enlarged hands. At the time of this man’s death, the average like expectancy was mid-30s, but nowadays there are treatments and preventative measures that allow people to live relatively normal lives. Treatments today focus on reducing the negative effects of pituitary tumors, and some options include surgery, radiation, or medication.
Even though this man lived 3,800 years ago, his impact on others affected by this disease may endure the tests of time.