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Keywords:

  • Cross-sectional geometry;
  • Intra-populational variation;
  • Femur;
  • Tibia;
  • Pecos Pueblo

Abstract

Intra-populational variation in cross-sectional geometric properties of the femur and tibia are investigated in the Pecos Pueblo skeletal sample. Sex differences in geometric parameters suggest that male lower limb bones are more adapted for A-P bending, females for M-L bending. Proposed explanations for this finding include sexual dimorphism in pelvic structure and culturally prescribed sex-related activities at Pecos. With aging, both males and females undergo endosteal resorption and cortical thinning, greater among females. Both sexes also demonstrate an increase with age in subperiosteal area and second moments of area, supporting results reported in some studies of modern population samples. Sex and site-specific remodeling of the femur and tibia with aging also occur. These localized remodeling changes appear to selectively conserve more compact cortical bone in areas of high mechanical stress. Side differences in cross-sectional geometric properties indicate that left lower limb bones are generally larger than right lower limb bones, with asymmetry greater among females. In particular, left femora and tibiae are relatively stronger in A-P bending, again more so in females.