Growth and Disease of the Human Skeleton - SACO8170

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Autumn Term 7 15 (7.5) Gina McFarlane checkmark-circle


This module will give students an in-depth knowledge of the histological mechanisms underpinning the growth of human bones and teeth. These mechanisms will be linked to diseases processes. This will provide a foundation to identify the surface manifestations of disease that can be seen macroscopically. Students will learn the criteria needed to identify a selection of skeletal diseases. Upon completion, students will have gained theoretical knowledge about the causes of disease, and practical 'hands on' experience identifying and diagnosing skeletal disease, both microscopically and macroscopically.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 126
Total study hours: 150


MSc Forensic Osteology and Field Recovery Methods

Method of assessment

Lab Report (3500 words) (70%)*
15 minute Lab Quiz 1 (10%)
15 minute Lab Quiz 2 (10%)
15 minute Lab Quiz 3 (10%)
*This element is pass compulsory and must be passed to achieve the learning outcomes of the module.

Reassessment methods: Like for Like. Students failing unrepeatable elements (50% lab notebook) may only retrieve credit by repeating the entire module.

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Burr DB, Allen MR. 2014. Basic and Applied Bone Biology. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.

Glorieux FH, Pettifor JM, Juppner H. 2012. Pediatric Bone Biology and Diseases. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.

Nanci A. 2013. Ten Cate's Oral Histology. Development Structure and Function, 8th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Year Book.

Mahoney P. 2011. Human deciduous mandibular molar incremental enamel development. Am J Phys

Anthropol 144, 204–214.

Mahoney P. 2012. Incremental enamel development in modern human deciduous anterior teeth. Am J Phys Anthropol 147,637–651.

Ortner, D.J. and Putchar, W.G.J. 1985 Identification of pathological conditions in human skeletal remains Smithsonian Institution Press.

Reinhard Dettmeyer. 2011. Forensic Histopathology: Fundamentals and Perspectives. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Schmidt C, Symes R. 2015. The Analysis of Burned Human Remains, 2nd Edition. Academic Press.

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 have a conceptual and advanced knowledge of human skeletal growth and development.
8.2 have an advanced understanding of enamel and bone histology, and the application of histology in Forensic Anthropology
8.3 be able to identify, diagnose, and interpret human skeletal disease and trauma.
8.4 gain advanced understanding of the research themes in Forensic Anthropology.
8.5 be able to critically evaluate new histological and macroscopic research into human skeletal disease.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1. be able to critically evaluate published research and problem solve.
9.2. be able to learn independently and successfully time management skills.
9.3. be able to organise and present of information in a clear and concise manor.
9.4. have gain advanced development of laboratory and practical skills.
9.5. further development of communication both orally and in writing.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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