Diaphyseal cross-sectional geometry of Near Eastern Middle Palaeolithic humans: The femur

Erik Trinkaus, Christopher B. Ruff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Previous assessments of Near Eastern Middle Palaeolithic late archaic and early modern human femoral diaphyses have noted differences in shaft shape and robusticity, which have been used to support arguments of differential locomotor activity levels or patterns between the groups. Cross-sectional biomechanical analysis of these femoral remains, however, documents that the perceived differences in overall strength are largely the product of contrasting ecogeographically related body proportions; once these proportions are taken into account and diaphyseal strength measures are appropriately scaled, any differences in overall shaft hypertrophy disappear. At the same time, clear differences in midshaft shape remain, with slightly more antero-posterior strength in the early modern human sample and more medio-lateral reinforcement in the late archaic human sample. It remains unclear to what extent these differences, as well as structural similarities in the subtrochanteric region, might be due to differences in body shape and especially pelvic and hip proportions. In combination with contrasts in femoral neck-shaft angles, it remains possible that the similarities in overall robusticity may hide a subtle mosaic of differences in factors contributing to that uniformity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-424
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • Biomechanics
  • Femur
  • Human palaeontology
  • Modern humans
  • Neandertals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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