Past Human Manipulative Behavior in the European Holocene as Assessed Through Upper Limb Asymmetry

Vladimír Sládek, Margit Berner, Brigitte Holt, Markku Niskanen, Christopher B. Ruff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Upper limb bone bilateral asymmetry can supply important information that can be used to assess past manipulative differences within or between temporal groups, as well as gender differences, ontogenetic changes, and the effects of socioeconomic status. This chapter investigates the impact of European Holocene changes in subsistence economy on upper limb bone bilateral asymmetry. It discusses right and left upper limb variation in bone lengths, articulations, breadths, and cross-sectional geometric (CSG) parameters across both temporal and geographic divisions. The chapter also considers patterns of sexual dimorphism in asymmetry among European Holocene groups. Asymmetry in CSG properties shows a gender-specific response to subsistence changes at the end of the Pleistocene in Europe. The overall comparisons of maximum asymmetry in different upper limb bone dimensions indicate that asymmetry in CSG properties is larger and more variable between periods than asymmetries in lengths and articular breadths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSkeletal Variation and Adaptation in Europeans
Subtitle of host publicationUpper Paleolithic to the Twentieth Century
Number of pages46
ISBN (Electronic)9781118628430
ISBN (Print)9781118627969
StatePublished - Dec 19 2017


  • Cross-sectional geometric parameters
  • European Holocene groups
  • Geographic divisions
  • Past human manipulative behavior
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Temporal divisions
  • Upper limb bone bilateral asymmetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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