A probable case of gigantism/acromegaly in skeletal remains from the Jewish necropolis of “Ronda Sur” (Lucena, Ćordoba, Spain; VIII–XII centuries CE)
Viciano, Joan; De Luca, Stefano; López-Lázaro, Sandra; Botella, Daniel; Diéguez-Ramírez, Juan Pablo
Pituitary gigantism is a rare endocrine disorder caused by hypersecretion of growth hormone during growing period. Individuals with this disorder have an enormous growth in height and associated degenerative changes. The continued hypersecretion of growth hormone during adulthood leads to acromegaly, a condition related to the disproportionate bone growth of the skull, hands and feet. The skeletal remains studied belong to a young adult male from the Jewish necropolis of “Ronda Sur” in Lucena (Ćordoba, Spain, VIII–XII centuries CE). The individual shows a very large and thick neurocranium, pronounced supraorbital ridges, an extremely prominent occipital protuberance, and an extremely large and massive mandible. Additional pathologies include enlargement of the vertebral bodies with degenerative changes, thickened ribs, and a slight increased length of the diaphysis with an increased cortical bone thickness of lower limbs. Comparative metric analysis of the mandible with other individuals from the same population and a contemporary Mediterranean population shows a trend toward acromegalic morphology. This case is an important contribution in paleopathological literature because it is a rare condition that has not been widely documented in ancient skeletal remains.