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Directional asymmetry in the lower limbs in pre-industrial humans and La Ferrassie Neandertals

Asymétrie directionnelle des membres inférieurs chez des humains préindustriels et les Néandertaliens de La Ferrassie
Ameline Bardo et Anna Maria Kubicka

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1Bilateral asymmetry in the lower limbs may reflect patterns of habitual biomechanical stress and relative mobility of past populations. While most studies look at the level of directional asymmetry (DA) mainly in the leg bones, analyses of these bones alone may not provide a complete picture of behavior. The main purpose was to assess the level of DA of femurs, tibias, 1st and 5th metatarsals (MT1 and MT5) in medieval humans from Poland (13 males, 8 females) and La Ferrassie Neanderthals (LF1 and LF2). We quantified metatarsal morphology, including maximum lengths, articular and peri-articular breadths, and diaphyseal breadths. Standard biomechanical properties of tibia and femurs were quantified using the morphomap package on R. Dimensions of the MTs and the biomechanical properties of the tibias and femurs were converted into percentages of directional asymmetry (%DA). The medieval humans were characterized by significant %DA for the mediolateral diameter of the proximal epiphysis (ML PE) and antero-posterior diameter at midshaft of the MT1, certainly because MT1 is under greater pressure than MT5. Tibia was characterized by more asymmetric all biomechanical properties, probably because is more responsive to loading than femur. We also tested for correlations of %DA within the lower limb bones, and we found a significant positive correlation between %DA of the ML PE in MT1 and the ratio of maximum to minimum second moments of area in the mid shaft of the tibia. Higher values of %DA of LF1 and LF2 can reflect adaptation to intense and/or highly repetitive lower limb loading. Moreover, we found different %DA for the biomechanical properties in LF1 and LF2 compared to older studies, indicating here differences between methods. The use of MT1 morphology looks promising for future studies investigating DA in the lower limbs in an archeological context when not all the bones are available.

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Ameline Bardo et Anna Maria Kubicka, « Directional asymmetry in the lower limbs in pre-industrial humans and La Ferrassie Neandertals »Bulletins et mémoires de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris [En ligne], 36(S) | 2024, mis en ligne le 22 décembre 2023, consulté le 21 février 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/bmsap/12418 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/bmsap.12418

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Auteurs

Ameline Bardo

UMR 7194 HNHP, MNHN-CNRS-UPVD, Département Homme et Environnement, Musée de l’Homme, Paris, France ; Department of Human Origins, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany ; ameline.bardo[at]gmail.com

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Anna Maria Kubicka

UMR 7194 HNHP, MNHN-CNRS-UPVD, Département Homme et Environnement, Musée de l’Homme, Paris, France ; Department of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Poznań, Poland

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

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