2009 Volume 117 Issue 2 Pages 107-112
This communication documents one of the earliest verifiable cases of human paralysis associated with severe spinal pathology. A series of skeletal abnormalities is described for a young adult male (M9) from a Southeast Asian Neolithic community. Differential diagnosis suggests that M9 suffered from a severely disabling congenital fusion of the spine (Klippel–Feil Syndrome, Type III), resulting in child-onset lower body paralysis at a minimum (maximally quadriplegia). M9 experienced severe, most probably total, incapacitation for at least a decade prior to death. In the prehistoric context, this individual’s condition would have rendered him completely dependent on others for survival.