The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)


Variation in sexual dimorphism of postcranial robusticity and body proportions in European Holocene populations

MARGIT BERNER1, VLADIMÍR SLÁDEK2,3, CHRISTOPHER RUFF4, BRIGITTE M. HOLT5, MARKKU NISKANEN6, PATRIK GALETA7, ELIŠKA SCHUPLEROVÁ2, MARTIN HORA2, JAROSLAV ROMAN7, HEATHER M. GARVIN4, EVAN M. GAROFALO4 and DANIELLE TOMPKINS5.

1Department of Anthropology, Natural History Museum, Vienna, 2Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Charles University, Prague, 3Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Brno, 4The Center of Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 5Department of Anthropology, University Massachusetts, Amherst, 6Department of Archaeology, University Oulu, 7Department of Anthropology, Univ. West Bohemia, Pilsen, 8Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Charles University, Prague

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It has been shown that substantial changes in human societies have an impact on sexual dimorphism during the Holocene mainly as aconsequence of changes in gender-specific subsistence activities and craft specialization, as well as access to resources. Over 2000 individuals across Europe from eight periods are analyzed for sexual dimorphism in stature, bodymass, and cross-sectional properties of femora and tibiae. Mean percentage of sexual dimorphism indicates that dimorphism in stature increases from the Mesolithic (4.9%) to the present(7.8%). Dimorphism in bodymass increases from the Mesolithic (13.2%) to the Neolithic (22.5%), followed by slight decrease in Modern sample (18.8%). Dimorphism in cortical area is lower in femora (range from 5.7 to 8.7%) compared to tibiae (range from 12.3 to 15.5%), but no clear tendency is observed. Dimorphism of femora lIx/Iy increases from the Mesolithic (6.2%) to the Neolithic (11.1%) and declines to the Modern period (1.7%). Sexual differences of tibial Ix/Iy decrease markedly from the Mesolithic (12.1%) to the Neolithic (1.8%) followed by a fluctuation in later periods. Dimorphism in femoral robusticity (Zp) fluctuates from 7.2% to 12.2% but does not indicate any tendency. Tibial dimorphism in robusticity increases from the Mesolithic (11.9%) to the Bronze Age (22.8%) followed by a decrease to the Modern sample (12.8%). In conclusion, results indicate that subsistence, social, and economic changes throughout the Holocene have an impact on sexual dimorphism in femoral mobility index and tibial robusticity, as well as body size.

This study was funded by National Science Foundation (grant number 064229) and Grant Agency of Czech Republic (grant number 206/09/0589).

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