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Keywords:

  • cross-sectional shape;
  • biomechanics;
  • long bones;
  • subsistence strategy

Abstract

This study investigates differences in femur midshaft shape, robusticity, and sexual dimorphism derived from external measurements between a broad range of prehistoric and historic North American populations with different subsistence strategies and inferred levels of mobility. The sample was divided into six groups to test whether observed femur midshaft variables follow the patterns predicted based on archaeologically and historically determined subsistence and mobility data. The results suggest significant variation in femur midshaft shape and robusticity in all populations, and that inferred mobility levels do not correspond consistently with femur midshaft structure in either males or females. Results do, however, support the prediction that sexual dimorphism is generally greater in more mobile populations. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.