Project information

Age-Related Changes in Metacarpal Bones

Project Identification
MUNI/IGA/1200/2020
Project Period
1/2021 - 12/2021
Investor / Pogramme / Project type
Masaryk University
MU Faculty or unit
Faculty of Science

The human hand is a morphological and functional complex which is very sensitive to internal and external factors. Hand bones can reflect individual developmental factors and overall living conditions, and, therefore serve as markers of the human life history. Our preliminary study on a documented sample revealed biologically important age effect during adulthood. The most sexually dimorphic measurements reflecting bone width of the 2nd metacarpal significantly increased between 40 and 50 years of age (at death) which was recorded in females but not in males. An important question arose whether this is a general trend of women´s individual life history relating to cessation of HPG regulatory axis and forthcoming menopause or if it is specific only to samples of 20th century and if cohort differences between older – earlier born (more robust) and younger – later born (more gracile) generation of females is responsible. Hypothetically, other effects, non-related with true age changes, e.g. hidden heterogeneity or frailty known within the frame of so-called osteological paradox, might be the causal factor. The aim of this project is to record and analyze age-related changes in the bones of the hand of historical adult populations. Metacarpal bones, included in skeletal collections from three burial sites which were preliminarily selected from the entire osteological ensemble deposited at the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznan, Poland) will serve as material for this study. We will use morphometric methods to acquire data on the collected metacarpal bones. The data will be subjected to univariate and multivariate statistical analyses and compared to sites in Moravia region, Czech Republic. We expect the outputs of this project to bring new knowledge in the field of physical anthropology, especially in human life history and its external proximate factors.

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