The shape variability of human tibial epiphyses in an early medieval Great Moravian population (9th–10th century AD): A geometric morphometric assessment
Brzobohatá, Hana; Krajíček, Václav; Velemínský, Petr; Poláček, Lumír; Velemínská, Jana
Limb bone morphology is influenced by external factors, including changes in subsistence and socioeconomic shifts. The aim of this study was to identify and describe any trends in morphological variation in human tibial epiphyses within an early medieval population of central Europe using surface scanning and geometric morphometric methods. The results are discussed in terms of three potential sources of variation in shape variability: sexual dimorphism, age at death and social status. These parameters were tested on a Great Moravian population sample (35 men and 30 women) from a Mikulčice settlement (9th –10th century AD). Proximal (13 landmarks) and distal (8 landmarks) tibial epiphyses were evaluated independently. The most significant differences in morphology of both articular ends were found between the groups separated by sex. Proximal tibial variability in the studied sample was characterized by a strong relationship between tibial size and shape of sexual dimorphic traits. Significant shape differences were also identified between adultus (20 – 40 years) and maturus (40 – 60) age groups regarding the proximal epiphysis but neither of the epiphyses was affected by the presumed social status as derived from location within the context of the settlement.