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

Intraskeletal variability of relative cortical area


Department of Anthropology, The Ohio State University

Friday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

Histomorphometric and cross-sectional geometric studies of bone provide valuable information about age at death, behavioral and activity patterns, and pathological conditions for past and present human populations. While considerable exploratory and applied research has been completed using histomorphometric and cross-sectional geometric properties, the effects of intraskeletal variability have not been fully explored. The purpose of this study was to determine whether intraskeletal variability exists in relative cortical area values. To examine intraskeletal variability, cross-sections of the femur, tibia, fibula, humerus, radius, ulna, and rib when present, were examined from a cadaveric collection (n=34). The null hypothesis that the relative cortical area values of all bones are the same was tested. Statistical analysis (P<0.0001) revealed that intraskeletal variability is present in the bones of these individuals, demonstrating that there is no universal relative cortical area value for a given individual. Subsequent groupings of bones (e.g., the femora and tibiae of all 34 individuals) were analyzed to determine if any bones produced homogeneous relative cortical area values. Results suggest that the only bones that produce reasonably homogenous values in this sample are the fibula, radius, and ulna. Relative cortical area values produced from other bones appear to be more heterogeneous than the values from the aforementioned bones. The biomechanical environment may play a role in the observed heterogeneity. This study is a contribution to the larger work that needs to be performed to quantify the intraskeletal variability of histomorphometric properties before variability between individuals and populations can be fully understood.

There are no conflicts of interest in this research. No funding was received to assist in the completion of the research.

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