Bioarchaeological research has greatly contributed to an understanding of the health consequences of the transition to agriculture in prehistory. This paper proposes that a similarly dramatic transition in health accompanied the transition to pastoralism during the Bronze Age in the Chinese Northern Zone. Bioarchaeological data, in combination with other types of data, can be used to test the hypothesis that the advent of pastoralism and agropastoralism in the Northern Zone was accompanied by a reduction in infectious diseases and dietary deficiencies, and an improvement in population health. This work can build on previous work in the region by moving beyond the consideration of human behavior change in its sociopolitical context, to consider it in its ecological context. It will consider humans as one element in complex, multi-scalar systems, and will examine the health consequences for humans when the cultural-natural systems of which they are a part undergo reorganization and transformation.