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


Past human manipulative behavior in the European Holocene as assessed through humeral asymmetry

KRISTÝNA FARKAŠOVÁ1, VLADIMÍR SLÁDEK1,2, MARGIT BERNER3, CHRISTOPHER RUFF4, BRIGITTE HOLT5, MARKKU NISKANEN6, DANIEL SOSNA7, PATRIK GALETA7, ELIŠKA SCHUPLEROVÁ1, MARTIN HORA1, JAROSLAV ROMAN7, HEATHER GARVIN4, EVAN GAROFALO4 and DANIELLE TOMPKINS5.

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

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We test whether Holocene changes in manipulative behavior indicated by the archaeological record resulted in a decrease of sexual dimorphism in humeral asymmetry and we analyze the pattern of humeral asymmetry for males and females. We used a European sample of 2170 humeri divided into nine archaeological periods from the Upper Paleolithic to the 20th century. Asymmetry was compared using cross-sectional parameters obtained from 35% of humeral length and assessed using directional asymmetry (DA; i.e., direction and magnitude). DA in humeral cortical area non-significantly declines in European male sample from UP (11%) to Modern period (5%). Female DA in cortical area strongly declines from the Mesolithic (8%) to Neolithic (0%) but is followed by an increase to Modern period (5%). DA in Imax/Imin ratio indicates no differences between males and females. For both groups the DA in Imax/Imin decreases from the Mesolithic (0%) to the Modern period (-5%) with minimum in Roman period (-8%). DA in robusticity (Zp) decreases from UP (23%) to the Mesolithic (4%) but remains stable during later periods of Holocene in male sample. In female sample the DA in humeral robusticity shows a slightly different pattern where females decline from UP (14%) to Bronze Age (3%) but increase to Modern period (8%). Differences between males and females in DA indicate that sexual dimorphism of cortical area and robusticity decreases throughout the Holocene but Imax/Imin remains unchanged. In conclusion, changes in manipulative behavior in Holocene have impact on both sexes in DA of cortical area and robusticity.

National Science Foundation (grant number 064229) and Grant Agency of Czech Republic (grant number 206/09/0589).

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