Exploring Development in Relation to Terrain: 3D Skeletal Analysis of the Femoral Neck-Shaft Angle




Mason, Celia

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Bioarchaeologists have expressed interest in the study of past populations and their mobility, with studies focusing on behavioural adaptations and subsistence strategies. While the effect of the topographical terrain on bone expression has been explored briefly, our understanding of it, especially in juvenile specimens, is limited. The object of this essay is to explore the effect of terrain in two archaeological samples, Indian Knoll (Green River, Kentucky) and Later Stone Age South Africans (Cape Fold Mountains, South Africa). These are both considered highly active populations, who inhabited vastly different geographical areas. To study skeletal expression, the femoral neck-shaft angle was chosen for study, due to its importance in clinical literature – cited as being highly developmentally plastic, and bioarchaeologists such as Erik Trinkaus have found changes in its expression that correspond to behavioural patterns. While no effect of terrain was observed in this study, future research with juveniles, the femoral neck-shaft angle, and the 3D method created for this project can benefit bioarchaeology and wider understandings of juvenile skeletal expression and attendant terrain-based effects.



terrain, biomechanics, juveniles, bony response, plasticity, environment, evolutionary constraint, femoral neck-shaft angle, 3D methods