Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Hypervitaminosis A

Metabolic excess of vitamin A, which is found in high concentrations in animal liver, honey, and insect larvae, and can cause hyperpigmentation, los of hair, and changes in horny tissues; can also cause pathological changes in fossil hominids if ingested in large doses. The Koobi Fora hominid KNM-ER 1808, a Homo erectus with the most complete postcranial skeleton until Nariokotome was found, appears to have several centimeters of deposition on the surface of many bones; this abnormal deposition has been suggested as a case of hypervitaminosis A.

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