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

Secular change in stature among Nigerian populations


Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida

Saturday 47, Plaza Level Add to calendar

This research examines secular change based on cadaver stature among Nigerian populations born during the 20th century. It was hypothesized that significant differences in stature would be observed due to historical events that limited resource access and perpetuated persecution of ethnic groups. Cadaver stature was collected from 223 Nigerian individuals (151 males and 72 females) at the Lagos State University Medical School in Nigeria. The years of birth ranged from 1928 to 1994, and all identified individuals were known to lack metabolic or nutritional deficiencies. Regression of cadaver stature on year of birth allowed for the assessment of secular change. Nonparametric tests were used to compare males and females, as well as two ethnic groups in Nigeria (Igbu and Yoruba), each with a distinct culture and language. Initial results suggest that there was no pattern of secular change in cadaver stature. Interpretation of the results allowed for a discussion of the effects of historical events in Nigeria. Individuals born prior to 1960 represent birth during the colonial period. Those born between 1960 and 1979 were born during post-independence and the civil war period, and the individuals born between 1980 and 1994 represent a period of foreign aid and integration into the global market. These results were also compared to secular change in long bone length of Black individuals in the Terry Collection. The conclusions suggest that the historic events in Nigeria may not have influenced stature or that socio-political conditions remain that do not allow secular change to take place.

This project was supported by Award No. NIJ 2008-DN-BX-K163 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.

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