The Ultimate Bioarchaelogy Quiz
by Staff
This fascinating subfield of anthropology is filled with bones, and the people who practice it are sort of like real-life Indiana Joneses. Curious yet?

Why is it difficult to define the term bioarchaeology with perfect accuracy?

  • It's such a complex field.
  • Various countries use different words to describe the work that bioarchaeologists do.
  • Scientists argue about what every branch of their studies should be called.

Who coined the term bioarchaeology?

  • Jane Ellen Buikstra
  • John Douglas
  • John Grahame Douglas Clark

Bioarchaeologists often use cranial and pelvic bones to determine a person's what?

  • sex
  • DNA
  • steroid usage

Why are bones vital to archaeological work?

  • They're easy to find.
  • Human flesh generally decomposes to a degree that it's not useful for scientific purposes, but bones are much hardier.
  • They contain massive amounts of calcium, which provides all of the data researchers need to reconstruct past lives.

A lot of bioarchaeology work is done in cold, dry regions of the world. How come?

  • These locations were filled with people long before wet, warm climates.
  • Scientists enjoy working in the harshest possible conditions.
  • Arid, frigid areas preserve human remains better for study purposes.

Bones provide information about how much physical labor a person performed. What are common traits of a laborer's bones?

  • broken in many places
  • skinnier and more fragile
  • denser and stronger

What does DNA evidence help bioarchaeologists reconstruct?

  • dinosaurs
  • the Ice Man
  • the makeup and movement of a population

Teeth that are full of cavities may point to evidence of what kind of diet?

  • a diet made up primarily of protein
  • a diet that contained a lot of carbohydrates
  • a diet that contained way too much candy and soda

Mass spectrometers can vaporize samples of human remains. Why in the world would bioarchaeologists want to dissolve their finds?

  • to locate DNA fragments
  • to determine the sample's chemical composition
  • to find evidence of exposure to radiation

NAGPRA is a funny-sounding acronym, but what does it stand for?

  • North American Graves and Patriotic Reconciliation Act
  • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
  • something really awful you don't want to know about

In what year did the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization set out to protect items of cultural heritage?

  • 1970
  • 1980
  • 1990

Why do some scientists oppose NAGPRA?

  • They think it violates the Constitution of the United States.
  • They will never again be allowed to study any artifacts tagged by NAGPRA claims.
  • They don't like being nagged.

Bioarchaeologists belong to professional associations. Which of these is one of them?

  • the Association of Bioarchaeological Researchers
  • the Society for Native American Biological Studies
  • the American Association of Physical Anthropologists

Who funds the work that bioarchaeologists carry out?

  • chemical corporations
  • Wall Street financiers
  • the National Geographic Society and similar organizations

Bioarchaeologists have reputations, but the good kind. As scientists, what are they famous for?

  • being intellectually diverse but protective of their knowledge
  • being averse to high-tech, analytical methods
  • being open-minded and willing to share their information and ideas

What's one of the most important aspects of bioarchaeology?

  • It relies solely on advanced technology.
  • It provides historical context for archaeological finds.
  • It employs biological rules for excavation sites.

Bioarchaeologists study a huge range of subjects. Which fields must these Renaissance men and women know a lot about?

  • human anatomy
  • mortuary studies
  • bone analysis
  • all of the above

In some countries, scientists might refer to bioarchaeology by a different name. Can you guess what it is?

  • histrobiological research
  • physical archaeology
  • biological anthropology

Why do bioarchaeologists need a background in mortuary studies?

  • to understand every aspect of ancient grave sites, including burial rituals
  • so they can file the correct excavation permits with the United States government
  • to avoid being grossed out by dead bodies

How is the work that bioarchaeologists perform relevant to modern societies -- that is, to the rest of us?

  • It helps us understand more about who we are and where we came from.
  • It provides a lot of material for National Geographic articles.
  • It assists geneticists as they try to find a cure for common illnesses.