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Keywords:

  • Biomechanics;
  • Cross-sectional geometry;
  • Femur;
  • Tibia;
  • Pecos Pueblo

Abstract

Variation in long bone cross-sectional geometry can be given a more precise functional interpretation using engineering beam theory. However, difficulties in measurement technique have generally prevented studies of large samples of cross sections in this way. In the present study, an automated system utilizing an electronic digitizer and computer software was used to analyze cross-sectional geometric properties of 11 femoral and tibial locations in 119 individuals from the Pecos Pueblo, New Mexico site. The data generated allow identification of clear differences in geometric properties between different regions of the femur and tibia. These differences appear to be related to specific in-vivo mechanical loadings of the lower limb bones, serving to reduce stress and strain under these loadings. The data are also used to investigate possible differences in loading of the femur and tibia in the Pecos and modern samples, and between humans and a nonhuman primate sample.