An Iron Age skull with a bone neoplasm from Nilka County, Xinjiang, China Academic Article uri icon


  • 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. With the exception of benign button osteomas, neoplasms in the skull are uncommon, and their consequences to the health of the general population are difficult to assess. In this study, we report a case of bone neoplasm arising in the temporal bone from a young male individual excavated from an Iron Age Qiongkeke Cemetery located in Nilka County, Yili, Xinjiang, China. The lesion presented as a cluster of ossified spicules in the infratemporal fossa. The possible diagnosis is a low-grade malignant neoplasm, probably parosteal osteosarcoma, whereas some other kinds of neoplasms are possible though less likely. There were no signs of cortical bone destruction or periosteal reaction, indicating the differential diagnosis with conventional osteosarcoma and other exophytic cranial bone neoplasms. This focal space occupying lesion may have started from early childhood and slowly grew laterally, inducing musculoskeletal deformation at the left side and long-term left tilting of the head. This rare case of skull bone neoplasm enriches our knowledge base of paleopathology in the ancient people of Northern China while also demonstrating long-term skeletal adaptation to a slow-growing neoplasm in the skull.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Q., Zhang, Q., Han, T., Zhu, H., & Wang, Q.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Quanchao||Zhang, Qun||Han, Tao||Zhu, Hong||Wang, Qian

publication date

  • November 2019