We examined the femora of 2665 adult human skeletons from an osteological collection to determine the prevalence of post-slip morphology termed femoral head-tilt deformity by Murray and pistol-grip deformity by Stulberg et al. The hypothesis was that primary osteoarthrosis of the hip is a secondary manifestation of a subclinical developmental disorder of the hip. The prevalence of post-slip morphology was 8 per cent (215 of 2665 skeletons). Severe osteoarthrosis was more prevalent in association with post-slip morphology (116 [38 per cent] of 306 hips) than in the matched controls (seventy-nine [26 per cent] of 306 hips) (p < 0.005). In the skeletons that had unilateral post-slip morphology, severe osteoarthrosis was more prevalent in the involved hips (thirty-one [37 per cent] of eighty-three) than in the contralateral, normal hips (eighteen [22 per cent] of eighty-three) (p < 0.05).Post-slip morphology, which was unrelated to age, was found to be a major risk factor for the development of high-grade osteoarthrosis. We noted evidence of high-grade osteoarthrosis in sixty-three (68 per cent) of the ninety-three hips with minimum post-slip morphology in skeletons from individuals who had been fifty-six years old or more at the time of death compared with forty-five (48 per cent) of the ninety-three control hips. With the numbers available, this difference was not found to be significant (p < 0.025). The osteoarthrosis in the hips with post-slip morphology was distinctly characterized by anterior flattening of the acetabulum, cystic degeneration in the anterior metaphyseal-epiphyseal region, and progression to global osteoarthrosis of the hip.