Patterns of morphological discrimination in selected human tarsal elements

R.S. Kidd, Charles Oxnard

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    13 Citations (Web of Science)


    A suite of measurements was collected from the talus, calcaneus, navicular, and cuboid of humans from Southern China, Victorian Britain, Roman Britain, and Zulu tribes people from the Republic of South Africa. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses of dimensions of individual foot bones revealed subtle but distinct patterns of morphological discrimination on the basis of sex and size on the one hand, and geographical relationships on the other. These differences are largely expressed in the first three canonical variates of the multivariate analyses: the first axis expresses both sex and size differences, and the second and third, geographical group differences. Confirmation of morphological patterns obtained from individual multivariate analyses was provided by an integrated analysis of the four tarsal elements together. However, the integrated analysis also gave larger separations with discriminations along different axes. T ius the three geographical groups (Zulus, Southern Chinese, and the two British groups together) were separated by first and third variates. The discrimination of sex and size differences was found in the second axis, mirroring what was found in the first axes of the individual studies. This axis reversal implies that in examining all bones together, there is enough redundant information about sex and size in each individual bone that they are relegated to a second axis. It likewise implies that the data referring to geographic discriminations provided by each individual bone are not redundant; they sum in the integrated analysis, and therefore contribute to the overall analysis to a greater extent, with increased clarity. (C) 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-181
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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