Variation in ancient Egyptian stature and body proportions

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Abstract

Stature and the pattern of body proportions were investigated in a series of six time-successive Egyptian populations in order to investigate the biological effects on human growth of the development and intensification of agriculture, and the formation of state-level social organization. Univariate analyses of variance were performed to assess differences between the sexes and among various time periods. Significant differences were found both in stature and in raw long bone length measurements between the early semipastoral population and the later intensive agricultural population. The size differences were greater in males than in females. This disparity is suggested to be due to greater male response to poor nutrition in the earlier populations, and with the increasing development of social hierarchy, males were being provisioned preferentially over females. Little change in body shape was found through time, suggesting that all body segments were varying in size in response to environmental and social conditions. The change found in body plan is suggested to be the result of the later groups having a more tropical (Nilotic) form than the preceding populations. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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