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Estimating the stature of ancient high‐altitude Andean populations from skeletal remains of the Chachapoya of Peru

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Abstract

Objectives: Previous studies have demonstrated the need for regionally specific stature estimation formulae due to the geographical specificity of limb proportionality related to the effects of environmental pressures on growth and development. High-altitude Andean populations have often been neglected in the creation of these formulae. This study uses a hybrid approach to create linear regression formulae for stature estimation and test their accuracy when compared previously published formulae traditionally used in Andean bioarchaeology. Materials and methods: We studied a sample from a high-altitude Andean population to create linear regression formulae based on anatomical estimates of stature from the femur, tibia, and calcaneus and compare the newly created formulae with those traditionally employed in Andean bioarchaeology. We also examine the reliability of calcanei in stature estimation by creating and testing regression formulae based on metrics from that element. Results: We include specific formulae accurate to within 1 cm of anatomical stature estimates using femoral, tibial, and calcaneal metrics. These formulae provide estimates that are closer to anatomical stature than those traditionally used in the Andes. ANOVA results were statistically significant for differences between Andean-derived and Mesoamerican-derived formulae. Discussion: Although regionally proximate (mid-altitude) formulae provide estimates approximating population-specific formulae, those created from geographically distant populations from sites at or near sea-level are inappropriate in high-altitude studies. Like some previous studies on stature, we found that the most accurate estimates were based on the tibia rather than the femur and that the calcaneus can be used reliably in stature estimation when no other element is present or measurable.

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... Unfortunately, it requires nearly complete skeletons which is rarely fulfilled in archeological samples (Porter, 2002) in addition to inapplicability in commingled contexts (Anzellini & Toyne, 2019). On the other hand, the proportionality of femur to stature (allometry) is variable across populations as well as present and past populations and it follows certain spatiotemporal pattern due to eco-geographic and growth plasticity factors (Béguelin, 2011;Raxter, Ruff, Azab, Erfan, et al., 2008;Ruff, 2002) leading to regional and temporal biases in stature estimates (Hens et al. 2000). ...
... Figure 1 showed that FL estimation using equations devised from the Ancient Egyptians as caliberation sample to the same target archeological population did not perform much better than those based on the contemporary population. These results also emphasize that proximal lower limb bone (femur) is less susceptible to environmental stressors as compared to the distal parts of lower limb (tibia and fibula), leading to greater consistency of femoral metrics regardless of reference population (Pomeroy et al., 2012;Anzellini and Toyne, 2019;Mahakkanukrauh et al., 2011;Albanese et al., 2016). Considering the same ecogeographic zone as a criterion to select the representative population and the similar moderate-to-high correlations between femoral measurements and FL obtained in the present study, these findings confirm the usefulness of our models and reduce the potential errors (Mays, 2016;Béguelin, 2011). ...
... Generic equations are bet-hedging strategies that minimize the potential wrongful selection of the model or loss of information due to inapplicability in unknown/ambiguously sexed specimens and technical difficulties in estimating the age from fragmentary remains or commingled contexts in addition to the use of few skeletal metric predictors (Feldesman & Fountain, 1996;Meyer et al., 2020;Albanese et al., 2016;Reynolds et al., 2018;Nikita & Chovalopoulou, 2017;Anzellini & Toyne, 2019). Moreover, the combined-sex equations are derived from larger sample size than each sex alone, and include wide spectrum of variation to provide the best fit of the line to the data and statistically more robust (Albanese et al., 2016). ...
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This study compared eight versions of the anatomical method for stature estimation on a white male sample (n = 34) from the W. M. Bass Donated Skeletal Collection. The aim was to evaluate errors in the estimates and to discuss how useful the methods are in forensic context. The average error estimating living stature was less than 1 cm for six of the methods. The correlations between the estimates were high (r = 0.982-0.999). In practice, differences between the versions as well as those between long bone-based equations and anatomical methods were small. Anatomical method is nevertheless more accurate than long bone regressions when individuals with atypical body proportions are examined.
Article
The biocultural interchange between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres beginning in the late fifteenth century initiated an unprecedented adaptive transition for Native Americans. This article presents findings from the initial population biological study of contact in the Central Andes of Peru using human skeletal remains. We test the hypothesis that as a consequence of Spanish colonization, the indigenous Mochica population of Mórrope on the north coast of Peru experienced elevated systemic biological stress. Using multivariate statistical methods, we examine childhood stress reflected in the prevalence of linear enamel hypoplasias and porotic hyperostosis, femoral growth velocity, and terminal adult stature. Nonspecific periosteal infection prevalence and D(30+)/D(5+) ratio estimations of female fertility characterized adult systemic stress. Compared to the late pre-Hispanic population, statistically significant patterns of increased porotic hyperostosis and periosteal inflammation, subadult growth faltering, and depressed female fertility indicate elevated postcontact stress among both children and adults in Mórrope. Terminal adult stature was unchanged. A significant decrease in linear enamel hypoplasia prevalence may not indicate improved health, but reflect effects of high-mortality epidemic disease. Various lines of physiological, archaeological, and ethnohistoric evidence point to specific socioeconomic and microenvironmental factors that shaped these outcomes, but the effects of postcontact population aggregation in this colonial town likely played a fundamental role in increased morbidity. These results inform a model of postcontact coastal Andean health outcomes on local and regional scales and contribute to expanding understandings of the diversity of indigenous biological variation in the postcontact Western Hemisphere.
Article
In the present report we investigate stature estimation techniques in a sample of 64 (35 male, 29 female) prehistoric Native Americans from Ohio. Because living stature is unknown for these 64 individuals, we use Fully's (1956) anatomical method to provide the best estimates of living stature. In this method all osseous components of skeletal height are measured and soft tissue correction is added. Comparisons of regression equations commonly used for stature estimation in prehistoric Eastern Woodland Native American populations, but developed for East Asian and East Asian—derived populations (using lower extremity components), show that these commonly used equations consistently yield stature estimates 2 to 8 cm in excess of the best estimates from Fully's method. Based on the skeletal height measures of the 64 individuals in the present sample, we develop regression equations for the estimation of stature. These equations yield stature estimates virtually identical to estimates from Fully's method and may prove useful for stature reconstruction in other prehistoric Eastern Woodland Native American populations.
Article
A total of 235 (176 ♂ and 59 ♀) cadavers were measured. Of these blood samples of 132 (103 ♂ and 29 ♀) are drawn. Only those cadavers of which the long bones could be measured afterwards were used in the investigation, and of these only those whose blood was of group O and Rh +. A sample of 98 (69 ♂ and 29 ♀) was thus arrived at and divided morphoscopically into seven categories going from “pure” Indian to “pure” white. With electronic computers, means and standard deviations were calculated for all six unpaired long bones and for stature, as well as the coefficient of multiple correlation among the seven variables, for both males and females. As categories leading from “pure” white towards the other extreme were withdrawn, the sample size was reduced but the coefficient of multiple correlation increased from 0.71 to 0.90 in males, and from 0.74 to 0.94 in females, indicating that a more homogeneous population was being dealt with. Mean stature for this population was 161.50 cm and 149.80 cm for males and females, after 2.5 cm are deducted from cadaveral measurements. As the sample is morphoscopically and serologically as close as one could get to pre-hispanic conditions and as the statures arrived at are representative of what is known, tables were drawn giving the corresponding values of statures of males and females going from 180 cm to 130 cm at steps of 0.5 cm. It is submitted that until a larger sample is obtained, the newly drawn tables and formulae are more appropriate to calculate stature from long bones of American pre-hispanic populations than any other hitherto used.
Article
Calcanei and tali of 100 skeletons in the Hamann-Todd Collection at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History were measured. The skeletons represented 50 males and 50 females distributed equally by race, i.e., whites and blacks. Linear-regression equations, with standard errors ranging from 4.09 to 6.11 cm, were derived from these measurements for the purpose of estimating stature. Two independent control samples, including one comprised of remains of American servicemen lost in World War II and the Korea and Vietnam wars, were tested with relatively accurate results.
Article
This study reevaluates the long-standing observation that human morphology varies with climate. Data on body mass, the body mass index [BMI; mass (kg)/stature (m)2], the surface area/body mass ratio, and relative sitting height (RSH; sitting height/stature) were obtained for 223 male samples and 195 female samples derived from studies published since D.F. Roberts' landmark paper "Body weight, race, and climate" in 1953 (Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 11:533-558). Current analyses indicate that body mass varies inversely with mean annual temperature in males (r=-0.27, P < 0.001) and females (r=-0.28, P < 0.001), as does the BMI (males: r=-0.22, P=0.001; females: r=-0.30, P < 0.001). The surface area/body mass ratio is positively correlated with temperature in both sexes (males: r=0.29, P < 0.001; females: r=0.34, P < 0.001), whereas the relationship between RSH and temperature is negative (males: r=-0.37, P < 0.001; females: r=-0.46, P < 0.001). These results are consistent with previous work showing that humans follow the ecological rules of Bergmann and Allen. However, the slope of the best-fit regressions between measures of body mass (i.e., mass, BMI, and surface area/mass) and temperature are more modest than those presented by Roberts. These differences appear to be attributable to secular trends in mass, particularly among tropical populations. Body mass and the BMI have increased over the last 40 years, whereas the surface area/body mass ratio has decreased. These findings indicate that, although climatic factors continue to be significant correlates of world-wide variation in human body size and morphology, differential changes in nutrition among tropical, developing world populations have moderated their influence.
Article
We examine secular change in long bone lengths and allometry of Americans dating from the mid-19th century to the 1970s. Skeletal samples were derived from the Huntington Collection, Terry Collection, World War II casualties, and the Forensic Anthropology Data Bank. Regression of bone length on year of birth allowed evaluation of the secular change in bone length. Size was computed as the geometric mean of all bone lengths, and shape as the ratio of each bone to size. These variables were then regressed on year of birth, allowing evaluation of allometric secular change. The results revealed a pattern of change that can be summarized as follows: male secular change is stronger than female, lower limb bone secular change is more pronounced than upper limb bone change, and distal bones change more than proximal bones, particularly in the lower limb. In males, white changes are uniformly higher than black but these differences do not rise to the level of statistical significance. Environmental forces, such as nutrition and disease, are the usual causes of secular changes in overall size. This paper shows that long bone proportions also respond to these same environmental factors. Moreover, the changes in body proportion are likely to be due to allometric consequences of growth changes that occur early in life. Am J Phys Anthropol 110:57-67, 1999.
Article
Stature and the pattern of body proportions were investigated in a series of six time-successive Egyptian populations in order to investigate the biological effects on human growth of the development and intensification of agriculture, and the formation of state-level social organization. Univariate analyses of variance were performed to assess differences between the sexes and among various time periods. Significant differences were found both in stature and in raw long bone length measurements between the early semipastoral population and the later intensive agricultural population. The size differences were greater in males than in females. This disparity is suggested to be due to greater male response to poor nutrition in the earlier populations, and with the increasing development of social hierarchy, males were being provisioned preferentially over females. Little change in body shape was found through time, suggesting that all body segments were varying in size in response to environmental and social conditions. The change found in body plan is suggested to be the result of the later groups having a more tropical (Nilotic) form than the preceding populations.
Article
Stature (height) is an important factor in establishing the identity of a person in the living as well as in the skeletonized state. When stature is estimated from the bones of the limbs, regression equations, which estimate the ratios of the lengths of bones to the height of the individual, are generated. The majority of bones that were used previously were the long bones. The calcaneus was used for estimating stature only in American whites and blacks (Holland [1995] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 96:315-320). The regression equations that he generated were found to be useful for stature estimation in these population groups. Since the calcaneus has not been used for the same purpose in South Africa, the aim of this study was to derive regression equations that will allow this bone to be used for stature estimation in South African blacks. In total, 116 complete skeletons (60 males and 56 females) were selected from the Raymond A. Dart Collection of Human Skeletons, School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). The skeletal heights of these sets of skeletons were calculated using the anatomical method of Fully ([1956] Ann. Med. Leg. 35:266-273). Nine parameters of the calcaneus were measured and matched against skeletal heights, using univariate and multivariate regression methods. Regression equations were obtained for estimation of the stature of the South African black population from the calcaneus. The standard error of estimate that was obtained with univariate regression analysis was higher than the corresponding values using multivariate regression analysis. In both cases, the standard errors of estimate compared well with the values obtained for fragmentary long bones by previous authors.
Article
Living human populations from high altitudes in the Andes exhibit relatively short limbs compared with neighboring groups from lower elevations as adaptations to cold climates characteristic of high-altitude environments. This study compares relative limb lengths and proportions in pre-Contact human skeletons from different altitudes to test whether ecogeographic variation also existed in Andean prehistory. Maximum lengths of the humerus, radius, femur, and tibia, and femoral head breadth are measured in sex-specific groups of adult human skeletons (N = 346) from the central (n = 80) and the south-central (n = 123) Andean coasts, the Atacama Desert at 2,500 m (n = 102), and the southern Peruvian highlands at 2,000-3,800 m (n = 41). To test whether limb lengths vary with altitude, comparisons are made of intralimb proportions, limb lengths against body mass estimates derived from published equations, limb lengths against the geometric mean of all measurements, and principal component analysis. Intralimb proportions do not statistically differ between coastal groups and those from the Atacama Desert, whereas intralimb proportions are significantly shorter in the Peruvian highland sample. Overall body size and limb lengths relative to body size vary along an altitudinal gradient, with larger individuals from coastal environments and smaller individuals with relatively longer limbs for their size from higher elevations. Ecogeographic variation in relation to climate explains the variation in intralimb proportions, and dietary variation may explain the altitudinal cline in body size and limb lengths relative to body size. The potential effects of gene flow on variation in body proportions in Andean prehistory are also explored.
Article
The "anatomical" method of Fully (1956 Ann. Legale Med. 35:266-273) for reconstructing stature, involving the addition of skeletal elements from the calcaneus to the skull, has been increasingly used in anthropological and forensic contexts, but has undergone little systematic testing on samples other than the original sample used to develop the technique. The original description by Fully of the method also does not provide completely explicit directions for taking all of the necessary measurements. This study tested the accuracy and applicability of his method, and clarified measurement procedures. The study sample consisted of 119 adult black and white males and females of known cadaveric statures from the Terry Collection. Cadaveric statures were adjusted to living statures, following the recommendations of Trotter and Gleser (1952 Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 10:469-514). We obtained the best results using maximum vertebral body heights (anterior to the pedicles) and measurement of the articulated talus and calcaneus height in anatomical position. Statures derived using the original Fully technique are strongly correlated with living statures in our sample (r = 0.96), but underestimate living stature by an average of about 2.4 cm. Anatomical considerations also suggest that the correction factors applied by Fully to convert summed skeletal height to living stature are too small. New formulae are derived to calculate living stature from skeletal height. There is no effect of sex or ancestry on stature prediction. Resulting stature estimates are accurate to within 4.5 cm in 95% of the individuals in our sample, with no directional bias.
Article
Some studies of high altitude populations argue that stature reduction results from caloric, rather than hypoxic, stress. However, tradeoff models of oxygen and glucose metabolism predict that in hypoxemia, glucose metabolism will be downregulated. We used tradeoff assumptions in two hypotheses: First, that hypoxia targets leg segment growth differentially, and second, that proportions of leg segments partition the impact of high altitude into hypoxemic and energetic components. A group of 113 Han and Tibetan middle school children at 3100 m aged 8 to 11 were measured for segment anthropometries, skinfolds, vital capacity, blood oxygen saturation, and percent body fat. MANOVA showed that Tibetan children were significantly larger and fatter than Han children. Independent of ethnicity or caloric status, absolute and relative tibia length was significantly reduced in children with lower blood oxygen saturation. Height, chest circumference, sitting height, tibia length, and ankle diameter were greatest in fatter children, independent of ethnicity or blood oxygen. For children of either ethnicity with the lowest blood oxygen, size as well as proportion was impacted. These results support the tradeoff model. Caloric reserves and ethnicity independently affect total skeletal size. Oxygen saturation and ethnicity affect leg proportions. In hypoxemia, body fat has less impact on growth than when ample oxygen is present. Therefore, we should qualify the claim that size in high altitude populations stems from nutritional stress. The findings also suggest that decanalization may have different meanings and outcomes depending on which body segments contribute to the effect.
Article
Trotter and Gleser's (Trotter and Gleser: Am J Phys Anthropol 10 (1952) 469-514; Trotter and Gleser: Am J Phys Anthropol 16 (1958) 79-123) long bone formulae for US Blacks or derivations thereof (Robins and Shute: Hum Evol 1 (1986) 313-324) have been previously used to estimate the stature of ancient Egyptians. However, limb length to stature proportions differ between human populations; consequently, the most accurate mathematical stature estimates will be obtained when the population being examined is as similar as possible in proportions to the population used to create the equations. The purpose of this study was to create new stature regression formulae based on direct reconstructions of stature in ancient Egyptians and assess their accuracy in comparison to other stature estimation methods. We also compare Egyptian body proportions to those of modern American Blacks and Whites. Living stature estimates were derived using a revised Fully anatomical method (Raxter et al.: Am J Phys Anthropol 130 (2006) 374-384). Long bone stature regression equations were then derived for each sex. Our results confirm that, although ancient Egyptians are closer in body proportion to modern American Blacks than they are to American Whites, proportions in Blacks and Egyptians are not identical. The newly generated Egyptian-based stature regression formulae have standard errors of estimate of 1.9-4.2 cm. All mean directional differences are less than 0.4% compared to anatomically estimated stature, while results using previous formulae are more variable, with mean directional biases varying between 0.2% and 1.1%, tibial and radial estimates being the most biased. There is no evidence for significant variation in proportions among temporal or social groupings; thus, the new formulae may be broadly applicable to ancient Egyptian remains.
Article
This study reconstructs patterns of stress and phenotypic variation in prehistoric Japan. Greater evidence for stress is indicated by elevated enamel hypoplasia frequency among Jomon foragers from western compared to eastern Japan. Geographic variation in stress between Jomon people is related to plant-based diets and resource scarcity in western Japan. The hypothesis that Jomon people from western Japan had shorter stature than those from the east is, therefore, tested. Relationships between individual stature, geographic location, and enamel hypoplasia presence/absence are also explored. In addition, increased population density and reliance on plant foods are observed during the Late/Final Jomon period in western Japan. A second hypothesis proposing shorter stature for Late/Final Jomon people compared to those from the Middle Jomon period is tested. Statistically significant differences in stature between males and females from eastern and western Japan were not observed. Individual relationships between enamel hypoplasia and stature were rejected. Stature decreased significantly over time in western Japan. It is possible that stature between the eastern and western Jomon did not differ because the western Jomon experienced catch up growth after childhood stress episodes. It is also likely that variation in stress between the two groups was not severe enough to warrant stature reduction. Decreases in stature through time in western Japan are related to increased exposure to chronic infection and dietary stress. Overall, these results indicate that enamel hypoplasia frequencies provide an adequate index of general stress but may fail to predict the impact of stress on the human phenotype.
Cerro del Gentil, un sitio Paracas en el Valle de Chincha, costa sur del Perú
  • J Gómez Mejía
Gómez Mejía, J. (2017). Análisis bioantropológico de individuos enterrados en Cerro del Gentil. In H. Tantaleán & C. Stanish (Eds.), Cerro del Gentil, un sitio Paracas en el Valle de Chincha, costa sur del Perú (pp. 165-182). Lima: PACH Press.
Parent‐offspring similarity in body size and proportions
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Wola nski, N. (1979). Parent-offspring similarity in body size and proportions. Studies in Human Ecology, 3, 7-26.
Anthropometry: The individual and the population
  • S. J. Ulijaszek
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Technical error of measurement in anthropometry
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