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A geometric morphometric assessment of shape variation in adult pelvic morphology

In humans, the pelvis is the most sexually dimorphic skeletal element and is often utilized in aging and sexing remains. The pelvis has become greatly relied upon in anthropological research (e.g., forensics, demographics, obstetrics, evolutionary history); however, pelvis morphology is highly variable, and very little is known about the nature, sources, patterning, and interpretation of this variation. This study aims to quantify pelvis shape variation, document sexual shape variation, and estimate the plasticity of morphology. This will ultimately give greater ability to interpret modern, archaeological, and evolutionary patterns to gain deeper insight into processes which shape human anatomy. Using a sample of 129 Medieval Danish skeletons, shape variation is documented in the greater sciatic notch (GSN), iliac crest (IC), arcuate line (AL), and sub-pubic angle (SPA) using 3D geometric morphometrics. The landmarking method applied here has the advantage of being applicable to fragmentary remains, rather than requiring whole bones. This allows it to be easily applied to archaeological samples and for the interpretation of separate bone features. Differences in shape were statistically analyzed by principle component analysis, linear discriminate analysis, and morphological disparity. Relationships between maximum femur length, body mass, and shape centroid size were also test by allometric regression. Results quantify the sexual dimorphism and shape variation present in these features. The GSN shape is the most variable, while the AL is the least. Similarly, the IC is the only feature which shows almost no dimorphism in shape, and instead best reflects lifestyle/activity patterns. Evidence of dimorphism in the IC is likely a result of cultural labor patterns rather than genetic and hormonal influence. Finally, the shapes of the GSN, AL, and SPA are more related to body mass than to femur length, such that individuals with increased mass exhibit more classically "male" shapes and those with less mass have more "female" shapes. The results have important implications for the evolution of pelvic anatomy, and sexual dimorphism, but also highlight the plasticity inherent in pelvic morphology. Analyzing pelvis features separately in a clearly defined, relatively genetically homogenous population gives insight into the determinants of bone morphology, which are not readily observable by other means. The relationship between body mass and shape suggests dimorphism in body size and composition may affect bone shape.

Sexual dimorphism in the size and shape of the <scp>non‐obstetric</scp> pelvis across anthropoids

The presence of sexual dimorphism in the birth canals of anthropoid primates is well documented, and birth canal dimorphism tends to be especially robust among species that give birth to relatively large neonates. However, it is less clear whether birth canal dimorphism is accompanied by dimorphism in parts of the pelvis not directly under selection for birth, particularly including bi-iliac breadth, biactetabular breadth, lengths of the ischium and ilium, and 3D shape. This study investigates the patterns of dimorphism among anthropoid primates in those parts of the pelvis which do not directly contribute to the bony birth canal, here termed the non-obstetric pelvis. 3D landmark data were collected on the bony pelves of 899 anthropoid primates. Specifically, landmark data were collected on parts of the pelvis not thought to be directly involved in selection for parturition, including portions of the posterior and superior ilium, acetabulum, and lateral ischium. Principal components analysis and Euclidean distance matrix analysis were used to ascertain sexual dimorphism in pelvic sizes and shapes within each species. Results show that dimorphism in non-obstetric pelvic size and shape exists across anthropoids, just as is seen in the birth canal. However, the magnitude of dimorphism in non-obstetric pelvic shape tends to be greater among anthropoid species that give birth to relatively large neonates compared with those birthing smaller neonates relative to maternal pelvic size. Though all anthropoids included in the study show some degree of sexual dimorphism in non-obstetric pelvic size and/or shape, species which give birth to large neonates relative to maternal pelvic size have the highest levels of dimorphism in pelvic shape. Moreover, the magnitude of dimorphism in certain parts of the non-obstetric pelvis mirrors patterns seen in the birth canal. The results of this study are promising for ascertaining pelvic dimorphism and relative neonate size in fossil primates, particularly in fragmentary remains which do not preserve a complete bony birth canal.

Mass violence in Copper Age Europe: The massacre burial site from Potočani, Croatia

To provide a comprehensive analysis of perimortem cranial injuries found on human remains from the Eneolithic (ca. 4200 BCE) mass grave discovered at Potočani, Croatia, to test if the assemblage is a result of a deliberate violent episode on a massive scale. Standard bioarchaeological analysis, including inventory of the preserved elements, minimum number of individuals, sex determination, age at death, as well as pattern and distribution of trauma, was recorded. A minimum of 41 people are present in the sample. Both sexes and almost all age groups are represented, with a prevalence of children and young adults. Four blunt force antemortem injuries are registered in three adult males and one subadult while perimortem injuries are recorded on 13 crania with a total of 28 injuries. The distribution of perimortem injuries is not patterned with age, sex, or siding, and their location is on lateral, posterior, or superior parts of the crania. No "defensive wounds" or other type of injuries are observed on postcranial elements. The injuries, manner of disposal of the bodies, radiocarbon dates, and other available data strongly suggest that the Potočani sample represents a single episode of execution during which the Potočani people were unable to defend themselves. The Potočani massacre is the oldest such example in southeastern Europe and provides additional evidence that indiscriminate violence on a massive scale is not a product of modern societies.