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Brief Communication: Calculating hominin and nonhuman anthropoid femoral head diameter from acetabular size



Femoral head size provides important information on body size in extinct species. Although it is well-known that femoral head size is correlated with acetabular size, the precision with which femoral head size can be estimated from acetabular size has not been quantified. The availability of accurate 3D surface models of fossil acetabular remains opens the possibility of obtaining accurate estimates of femoral head size from even fragmentary fossil remains [Hammond et al.,: Am J Phys Anthropol 150 (2013) 565–578]. Here we evaluate the relationship between spheres fit to surface models of the femoral head and acetabulum of a large sample of extant anthropoid primates. Sphere diameters are tightly correlated and scale isometrically. In spite of significant taxonomic and possibly functional differences in the relationship between femoral head size and acetabulum size, percent prediction errors of estimated femoral head size remain low regardless of the taxonomic composition of the reference sample. We provide estimates of femoral head size for a series of fossil hominins and monkeys. Am J Phys Anthropol 155:469–475, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.