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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/487

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483
AGE, GROWTH AND DEATH

remains, or thereabouts, through the remainder of life, though there may be a small further diminution. This decrease in stature is due largely to the changes in the vertebral column. First of all there is a stoop. The vertebral column is, to be sure, never straight, but in old age it becomes more curved, and the result is a falling of the total stature. But this is not the chief cause, for in addition to this the

PSM V70 D487 Photograph of a child at birth.png

Fig. 2. Photograph from a Child at Birth. The original is owned by Dr. H. P. Bowditch, by whose courtesy the present reproduction is published.

softer cartilages and elements of the spinal column become harder, change into bone, and as that change occurs they acquire a less extent and become smaller, and the result is that the vertebral column as a whole collapses somewhat and thus increases the diminution of height. We find, as we look at the old, a great change to have come over the face. The roundness of youth has departed; the cheeks are