Osteoporosis is a systemic disease characterized by bone mass reductions and heightened fracture risk; its global prevalence rates are projected to increase precipitously over the next few decades. Evolutionary and life-history perspectives have proven valuable for offering a different lens with which to consider the etiologies of common chronic diseases, and in this review, these approaches are applied to osteoporosis. Although there are many perspectives on human susceptibility to bone loss, this article explores the most prominent and empirically studied theories. Osteoporosis is considered within the context of theories on aging (e.g., antagonistic pleiotropy, disposable soma) and mismatch theory. Female vulnerability is considered within a separate evolutionary framework and has been articulated as a trade-off between reproduction and skeletal health. Recent advancements in bone imaging techniques for skeletal and living human and nonhuman primate populations (i.e., CT scans, ultrasonometry) have facilitated huge strides in contextualizing osteoporosis within evolutionary theory.


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