Bilateral asymmetry in cortical bone of the humerus and tibia: Sex and age factors

C. B. Ruff, H. H. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Bone cross-sectional breadths and areas, determined from A-P and M-L radiographs, were compared in right and left tibiae and humeri in an archaeological sample from California. Both bones showed significant bilateral asymmetry in size and shape, although the pattern of asymmetry varied by sex and age group. Males were more asymmetric in humeral dimensions (right side larger), females in tibial dimensions (left side larger). Bilateral asymmetry in both tibiae and humeri decreased with age, primarily due to greater losses of cortical bone from the sides with more bone in early adulthood (left tibiae in females, right humeri in both sexes). Intercorrelations between humeral and tibial bone areas showed the male right humerus to be less highly correlated with other areas of the skeleton than any other bone compared. Results are discussed in terms of sex and age factors, the setting of bone volume evaluation standards, and general relationships between activity levels and patterns of bone growth and remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-86
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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