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Ontogeny of Femur Subtrochanteric Shape in Native Americans and American Blacks and Whites

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Femur subtrochanteric size and shape can be used to differentiate between adult Native Americans and American Blacks and Whites, but little is known about when shape differences are established during growth and development. Ontological changes in subtrochanteric shape were examined using 74 Native American and 61 American Black/White subadult femora. At birth, the proximal femur diaphysis is relatively circular in both groups. Between birth and 5 years, the diaphysis becomes more mediolaterally broad, especially in Native Americans, due to differential growth between the mediolateral and anteroposterior planes. This change may be due to biomechanical stresses associated with developing a mature gait pattern. After the age of 5, growth occurs more equally in the two planes and shape does not change significantly. The adult shape of the proximal femur is established by c. 5 years of age and can be used to discriminate between Native American and American Black/White femora in older subadults.
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Keywords: eurymeria; femur; forensic anthropology; forensic science; platymeria; platymeric index

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

Publication date: 2006-11-01

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