The femur of the Australian aborigine

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  • The Femur of the Australian Aborigine

    V. DAVIVONGS Department of Anatomy, University of Adelaide, South Australia

    Very few studies have been made upon the post-cranial skeletons of Australian aborigines. Turner (1886) made a study on skeletons of several ethnic groups col- lected during the voyage of H.M.S. Chal- lenger in 1873-1876. In his work, the Australian aboriginal skulls, pelvic girdles, femora and many other parts were in- cluded. However, the number of the abo- riginal skeletons was few: only six adult males, an adult female and a juvenile male were available at that time. Hepburn (1896) also employed the same collection for a study on the platymeric, pilastric and popliteal indices of the femur. Stirling (1896) in a report on the Horn Scientific Expedition to Central Australia quoted Watson's data of the measurements of an aboriginal male skeleton obtained from Alice Springs. Many skeletal parts in- cluding the pelvic girdle, femur and tibia were examined. In '20, Wood examined and measured a large number of tibiae of Australian aborigines and more recently Ray ('59) made a detailed study of the aboriginal clavicles numbered up to 292.

    Physical characters of Australian aborig- ines especially of the pelvis and lower limbs have been disclosed by the anthro- pological surveys done in many parts of Australia. Campbell, Gray and Hackett ('36) found that the lower limbs of the aborigines in Central Australia are long compared with the trunks and upper limbs. In comparison with European standards, the thighs and lower limbs are thin, the trunks are short and the pelves are narrow. Abbie ('51) describes that typical aborigi- nal males and females have narrow hips and long thin shanks. The trunks in adults are obviously short compared to the lower limbs; he found that relative sitting heights of four different groups: Yalata, Pintubi, Wailbri and Burera are well under 50% (Abbie, '61).

    At present, a large number of Australian aboriginal skeletons have been collected at the South Australian Museum. These made the present study possible. The study of the aboriginal femur was done in com- pany with that of the pelvic girdle (V. Davivongs, to be published), humerus and shoulder girdle (R. van Dongen, to be published). The main purpose of this study is to provide an aboriginal standard for comparison with other ethnic groups. The other purpose is to disclose sex differences in the aboriginal femora and their useful- ness for sex determination.

    MATERIAL AND METHODS

    The bones examined were 75 pairs of male and 55 pairs of female femora. Some of these bones belong to the Department of Anatomy, University of Adelaide but most are in the South Australian Museum. About 80% of skeletons came from South Australia and the rest from Northern Terri- tory, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. All of them are from adults but their ages and sexes had not been recorded. Preliminary determination of the sex was mainly based upon the pelvic girdle. Every complete girdle, i.e. a pair of innominate bones and a sacrum, was re-articulated for examining the sub- pubic angle which is helpful in sexing. The greater sciatic notch of each innomi- nate bone was also employed in this task. Whenever necessary, skulls were also ex- amined and incorrect determination of the sex would be assumed in very few cases. All of these femora were taken at random; only damaged bones and those with path- ological changes being excluded.

    The methods of measurments are those described by Wilder ('20). Each linear

    1 On WHO ('61) and Colombo Plan ( '62) Fellow- ships in Physical Anthropology from the Department of Anatomy, Siriraj Medical School. University of Medical Sciences, Bangkok, Thailand.

    457

  • 458 V. DAVIVONGS

    measurement was recorded to the nearest millimeter. The following measurements were made.

    Lengths 1. Maximum length (or absolute length). 2. Oblique length (or physiological

    3. Trochanteric length.

    Shaft dimensions 1. Subtrmhanteric region. Antero-pos-

    terior and transverse diameters and the circumference taken at a level of about 3 cm distal to the lesser trochanter where the least antero-posterior diameter ob- tained.

    2. Mid-shaft. Antero-posterior and trans- verse diameters and the circumference.

    3. Supracondylar region. Antero-poste- rior and transverse diameters taken at a level of 4 cm proximal to the posterior limit of the articular surface of the femoral condyles.

    Femoral head

    length).

    1. Vertical diameter. 2. Horizontal diameter (or transverse

    3. Circumference. diameter).

    Femoral condyles 1. Transverse condylar breadth (or

    greatest medio-lateral breadth across the condyles).

    Angles 1. Angle of the neck. 2. Angle of obliquity. 3. Angle of torsion.

    Indices 1. Platymeric index =

    x 100. a.-p. diam. at subtrochanteric region tran. diam. at subtrochanteric region

    2. Pilastric index = a.-p. diam. at mid-shaft tran. diam. at mid-shaft x 100.

    3. Shaft robusticity index = x 100. a.-p. diam. + tran. dam. at mid-shaft

    oblique length

    4. Popliteal index = x 100. a.-p. diam. at supracondylar region

    tran. diam. at supracondylar region

    5. Femoral head index = x 100. vertical diam. of the head

    oblique length ~ _ _ _

    6. Condylar breadth index = x 100. tran. condylar breadth

    oblique length

    RESULTS The measurements and indices of the

    aboriginal male and female femora are listed in table 1.

    Lengths The male femur as determined by the

    three mean lengths is longer than the female femur. The discrepancy of the male and female means is 24.14 mm for the maximum length, 24.92 mm for the oblique length and 21.19 mm for the tro- chanteric length. The significance of sex difference of the means is high.

    The difference between the mean maxi- mum and the mean oblique lengths in males is 3.60 mm and it is 4.38 mm in females. The difference is more marked in females which is due to the greater obliquity of the femoral shaft in this sex.

    The mean oblique length of the femur on the right side is 444.04 mm in the aboriginal males and that on the left side is 444.23 mm. For the females, it is 419.18 mm on the right and 419.24 mm on the left. Therefore, in both sexes the left fe- mur is more frequently longer than the right one but the discrepancy is not great. According to Garson (1879), the inequality is not confined to any particular age, sex or race.

    Shaft dimensions For the an-

    tero-posterior and transverse diameters and the circumference measured at this level, the male means are greater. The sex differences of the means are highly significant.

    The means of the platymeric index are not significantly different in the sexes. In males, the index ranges from 62.1 to 100.0; being platymeric 82% , eurymeric 16.7% and stenomeric 1.3%. In females, the platymeric index has a narrower range from 62.1 to 96.2; being platymeric 80%, eurymeric 20% and stenomeric 0%.

    1. Subtrochanteric region.

  • TA

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    Ang

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    Ang

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    Supr

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    dyla

    r reg

    ion

    Fem

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    Ang

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    150

    150

    149

    150

    150

    150

    150

    149

    149

    149

    149

    149

    149

    149

    149

    150

    150

    150

    150

    148

    148

    150

    150

    149

    Sign

    ific

    ance

    of

    sex

    di

    ffer

    ence

    of

    mea

    ns

    Fem

    ale R

    ange

    S

    .D.

    Mea

    n R

    ange

    S.

    D.

    No.

    M

    ean

    447.73

    444.13

    423.66

    22.91

    29.01

    83.05

    79.18

    27.56

    24.65

    82.45

    111.99

    11.76

    26.93

    36.85

    73.36

    43.05

    42.72

    136.15

    9.70

    69.88

    15.74

    127.83"

    9.01"

    22.29"

    405-502

    405-498

    385-478

    18-29

    24-34

    72-95

    62.1-100.0

    21-37

    21-29

    70-105

    84.6134.6

    10.1-13.4

    22-34

    31-45

    60.5-90.6

    39-50

    39-50

    124-158

    8.9-10.7

    60-84

    13.7-17.4

    117"-142"

    3"-13"

    3O-43"

    18.55

    110

    18.00

    110

    18.52

    110

    1.88

    110

    2.06

    110

    5.21

    110

    6.52

    110

    2.62

    109

    1.67

    109

    5.93

    109

    9.95

    109

    6.49

    109

    2.01

    109

    3.33

    109

    5.37

    109

    2.09

    110

    2.10

    110

    6.60

    110

    0.38

    110

    2.81

    106

    0.80

    106

    4.25

    110

    1.78

    110

    7.95

    109

    423.59

    419.21

    402.47

    20.40

    25.95

    74.44

    78.81

    23.88

    22.41

    72.83

    106.61

    11.06

    22.88

    34.02

    67.40

    38.16

    37.87

    120.62

    9.11

    61.32

    14.66

    127.26"

    9.96"

    24.38"

    378470

    374470

    358456

    1625

    23-29

    64-85

    62.1-96.2

    18-30

    61-84

    9.1-12.7

    19-26

    86.4-131.6

    19-28

    2744

    56.4-82.1

    35-42

    35-41

    110-130

    8.1-10.1

    54-67

    13.1-15.9

    114"-139"

    4"-15"

    2"-50"

    20.83

    ***

    25.06

    ***

    20.49

    ***

    1.86

    ***

    1.69

    ***

    4.36

    ***

    7.42

    ns.

    2.62

    ***

    1.30

    ***

    4.87

    ***

    9.80

    ***

    7.12

    ns.

    1.78

    ***

    3.41

    ***

    4.79

    ***

    1.30

    ***

    1.22

    ***

    3.87

    ***

    0.38

    ***

    2.74

    ***

    0.58

    ***

    4.99

    n.s.

    2.19

    ***

    8.91

    n.s

    .

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    0.0

    5).

    *** =

    sig

    nifi

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    , (P

    < 0

    .001 ).

  • TA

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    nic

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    and

    indi

    ces

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    imum

    leng

    th

    174

    Obl

    ique

    leng

    th

    177

    Sub

    troc

    hant

    eric

    regi

    on

    A.-p

    . dia

    met

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    n. d

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    eter

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    atym

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    x

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    ty

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    f to

    rsio

    n

    185

    185

    185

    184

    184

    184

    176

    174

    160

    183

    168

    167

    ~

    458.3

    454.7

    28.1

    35.6

    79.3

    31.6

    29.6

    108.0

    13.6

    49.0

    76.2

    126.4"

    9.0"

    + 13.0"

    409-543

    404-538

    23-38

    30-45

    59-100

    26-40

    24-35

    85.7-148.0

    1 I .3-15.5

    45-55

    65-87

    112"-140"

    4"-17"

    - 13

    "-+40"

    All

    line

    ar m

    easu

    rem

    ents

    in m

    m.

    56 457.4

    404-523

    43 445.0

    44 407.7

    20 408.8

    150

    447.73

    405502

    150

    444.13

    405-498

    56 454.3

    403-521

    43 441.3

    - -

    --

    _-

    -

    43

    22.43

    47

    23.8

    20

    22.7

    150

    22.91

    18-29

    _-

    -

    43

    34.51

    47

    32.3

    20

    29.7

    150

    29.01

    24-34

    56

    83.5 69.4-100.0

    43

    65.22

    47

    73.7

    20

    76.4

    150

    79.18

    62.1-100.0

    __

    -

    43

    29.48

    46

    27.8

    20

    25.0

    149

    27.56

    21-37

    _-

    -

    43

    25.33

    46

    26.6

    20

    24.6

    149

    24.65

    21-29

    56 108.4

    93.3-128.5

    43 116.67

    46 104.5

    20 101.6

    149

    111.99

    84.6-134.6

    --

    -

    43

    12.42

    - -

    __ -

    149

    11.76

    10.1-13.4

    56

    49.0

    43-57

    39

    46.26

    - -

    _-

    150

    43.05

    39-50

    56

    76.8

    71-85

    _-

    _

    _ -

    - 148

    69.88

    60-84

    --

    -

    43 136.26" - -

    _-

    150

    127.83"

    117"-142"

    __

    -

    43

    9.26"

    - -

    _-

    150

    9.01"

    3"-13"

    149

    22.29"

    3O-43'

    _-

    -

    43

    25.35" - -

    --

  • AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL FEMUR 461

    2. Mid-shaft. As seen from the mean diameters and circumference taken at this level, the male femur has greater dimen- sions. The mean pilastric index is also obviously greater in males. This is mainly due to the increased antero-posterior diam- eter at the mid-shaft in this sex. It was observed that the linea aspera was also more pronounced in males and many of them showed the so-called pilaster. The mean of the shaft robusticity index in females is slightly smaller than in males but the sex difference of the means is not significant .

    3. Supracondylar region. At this region the two mean diameters and the mean popliteal index are greater in males and the sex differences of the means are highly significant. The findings indicate that the flattening of the shaft at this region is more marked in females.

    Femoral head The size of the femoral head as deter-

    mined by the mean vertical and horizontal diameters and by the mean circumference is generally greater in males than in fe- males. The sex differences of the means are highly significant. In both sexes, the mean vertical diameter is slightly greater than the mean horizontal diameter. An- other important finding in these three measurements is a markedly small over- lap of the male and female ranges. This indicates a great value for sex determina- tion as previously shown by Dwight ('05). It will be discussed later. The femoral head index also shows the sex difference of the means; the male is greater. Un- fortunately, the overlap between the male and female ranges of this index is rather wide. So, it is a poor sex determinant.

    Femoral condyles The mean of the transverse condylar

    breadth in females is smaller than in males and the female range is also much narrower. The condylar breadth index in males is greater than in females on aver- age. The transverse condylar breadth series shows a small overlap between the male and female ranges and it can be used as a n indicator of the sex.

    Angles The measurements of the angle of the

    neck and the angle of torsion indicate that there are no significant sex differences be- tween the means. The angle of torsion in the aboriginal femora shows a very wide range of variation in both sexes. On the other hand, it is obvious that the female mean of the angle of obliquity is greater than that of the male. The more obliquity of the femoral shaft in females is probably caused by the wider pelvis and shorter femur in this sex.

    DISCUSSION

    I . Ethnic comparisons of the femur Some data from previous works on the

    femur (Parsons, '14; Holtby, '18; Koganei, quoted by Pearson and Bell, '19; and Schofield, '59) are available for comparing with the present aboriginal series. These data (tables 2 and 3) were selected from works with the same technique of meas- urements applied and sufficient numbers of bones examined.

    The mean maximum and oblique lengths disclose that the male aboriginal femur is shorter than the medieval and modern English femora but slightly longer than the Maori and much longer than the Ainu and Japanese. In the female series, the result is somewhat different; the mean lengths of the female aboriginal femora are longer than every group listed in table 3.

    In both sexes, the mean diameters of the shaft at the levels of subtrochanteric region and mid-shaft of the aboriginal femora are smaller than those of the medieval English, Maori and Ainu but slightly greater than the Japanese. The sizes of the femoral head and condyles in the Australian aborigine are much smaller than those of the medieval and modern English.

    According to the mean platymeric index, the present aboriginal femora and those of all other groups of both sexes are mostly platymeric. Platymeria is even more pro- nounced in the Maori, Ainu and Japanese femora than the aboriginal bones. Platy- meria is, therefore, not a special character of the Australian aboriginal femur. Abbie

  • TA

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    Mea

    sure

    men

    ts a

    nd i

    ndic

    es o

    f fe

    mal

    e fe

    mor

    a in

    var

    ious

    eth

    nic

    grou

    ps

    Med

    ieva

    l Eng

    lish

    M

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    Eng

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    M

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    A

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    Japa

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    A

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    Pre

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    sen

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    Mea

    sure

    men

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    Par

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    ('14

    ) H

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    d ('

    59)

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    No.

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    M

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    No.

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    No.

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    No.

    M

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    No.

    M

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    Ran

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    Max

    imum

    leng

    th

    102

    Obl

    ique

    leng

    th

    103

    Subt

    roch

    ante

    ric r

    egio

    n A

    .-p. d

    iam

    eter

    105

    Tra

    n. d

    iam

    eter

    105

    Pla

    tym

    eric

    inde

    x 105

    Mid

    -sha

    ft

    A.-

    p. d

    iam

    eter

    108

    Tra

    n. d

    iam

    eter

    108

    Pila

    stri

    c in

    dex

    108

    Shaf

    t rob

    usti

    city

    in

    dex

    104

    Hea

    d di

    amet

    er

    103

    Tra

    n. co

    ndyl

    ar b

    r.

    88

    Ang

    le o

    f th

    e ne

    ck

    105

    Ang

    le o

    f ob

    liqui

    ty

    98

    Ang

    le o

    f to

    rsio

    n 99

    418.9

    416.5

    25.5

    32.5

    78.5

    28.0

    26.5

    104.1

    13.1

    42.5

    67.5

    125.5"

    10.5"

    + 17.0'

    358-477

    356471

    21-29

    27-39

    61-98

    23-33

    21-31

    80.0-125.0

    10.615.0

    3648

    63-75

    114"-134"

    2"-17"

    - 12"-+34"

    44 415.1

    362464

    33 419.8

    25 382.2

    20 379.8

    110

    423.59

    378470

    110

    419.21

    374470

    44 412.6

    358461

    33 414.9

    - -

    _-

    _-

    -

    33

    20.06

    26

    21.3

    20

    19.0

    110

    20.40

    1625

    -_

    -

    33

    32.19

    26

    30.8

    20

    25.7

    110

    25.95

    23-29

    44

    81.6 65.7-100.0

    33

    62.37

    26

    69.2

    20

    73.9

    110

    78.81

    62.1-96.2

    --

    -

    33

    26.11

    26

    24.7 20

    21.5

    109

    23.88

    18-30

    _-

    -

    33

    23.14

    26

    24.4

    20

    21.8

    109

    22.41

    19-26

    44 108.2

    87.5-128.0

    33 112.97

    26 101.2

    20

    98.6

    109

    106.61

    86.4-131.6

    _-

    -

    33

    11.87

    - -

    _-

    109

    11.06

    9.1-12.7

    44

    41.7

    37-46

    32

    41.41

    - -

    -_

    110

    38.16

    35-42

    _-

    106

    61.32

    54-67

    -_

    -

    -

    44

    67.5

    60-74

    --

    _

    33 137.61"

    - -

    _-

    110

    127.26"

    114"-139"

    -

    33

    10.24" - -

    _-

    110

    9.96"

    4"-15"

    --

    _-

    -

    32

    28.56" - -

    --

    109

    24.38"

    2"-50"

    -~

    All

    line

    ar m

    easu

    rem

    ents

    in

    mm

    .

  • AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL FEMUR 463

    ('51) states that the occurrence of platy- meria and platycnemia and a correspond- ing narrowing of the humerus are now known to hold no ethnological significance, being probably of nutritional origin (Bux- ton, '38). The greater mean platymeric index of the modern English femora as compared with that of the medieval Eng- lish seems to support this theory.

    The mean pilastric index of the aborigi- nal femora of both sexes exceeds that of the Ainu and Japanese but is comparable with the medieval and modern English. However, the greatest mean was recorded in the Maori. The pilaster or prismatic form of the femoral shaft was observed in some aboriginal bones especially in males. It is, however, not unique to this group because it was also found in the femora from Cro-Magnon, New Caledonia, Andaman Islands and many other places (Turner, 1886).

    It appears that the shafts of the aborigi- nal femora are more slender than those of the English. In this case, the shaft robusticity index would reveal the differ- ence. The detailed data of the medieval English femora are available for compari- son in this regard. In males (table 2), the mean of the shaft robusticity index is 13.6 for the medieval English and 11.76 for the Australian aborigines. Also in females (table 3), the mean index is 13.1 for the English femora and only 11.06 for the aboriginal femora. The difference between the means of these two groups is great in both sexes. For the male series, the over- lap between the ranges of the English and the aboriginal femora by this index is 64.0%. The overlap in the female series is 60.1 % . It means that nearly 40% of male and female bones of both groups can

    be discriminated from each other by using the shaft robusticity index alone.

    The sizes of the femoral head and con- dyles as respectively determined by the mean head diameters and the mean trans- verse condylar breadth are large in the medieval and modern English femora and small in the Maori and the Australian aboriginal bones. These are in harmony with the size of the shaft.

    The means and ranges of variation of the angle of femoral neck in the medieval English and Australian aborigine of both sexes are quite comparable. This mean angle is more obtuse in the Maori femora taken by Schofield ('59). It has been shown that there is no significant sex dif- ference between the means of this angle in the aboriginal series. Parsons also points out that the angle is of no value as an indicator of the sex.

    The means for the angle of obliquity of the medieval English, Maori and Aus- tralian aboriginal femora are entirely in the same order. In every group, the mean is approximately 9" in males and 10" in females.

    On the average, the angle of torsion of the aboriginal femora is greater than that of the medieval English but smaller than in the Maori. The range of variation of this angle is extraordinarily wide in every group and in both sexes. It should be noted that only positive angles were re- corded in the aboriginal series. Schofield also found no negative torsional angle in the Maori series. On the other hand, Parsons recorded some few negative angles in the medieval English femora. Pick et al. ('41) also found negative angles of torsion in American femora; the range being from -18" to +41" with a mean of +14.01".

    TABLE 4 Important measurements of the femur for sex determination

    Definitely female Measurements Definitely Overlap Groups in mm male

    3942 < 39 122-130 < 122

    Transverse condylar breadth > 67 60-67 < 60 Medieval English Femoral head diameter > 48 45-48 < 45

    (Parsons, '14) Transverse condylar breadth > 75 65-75 < 65 43-46 < 43 71-74 < 71 Modern English Femoral head diameter > 46 (Holtby, '18) Transverse condylar breadth > 74

    Australian aborigine Femoral head diameter > 42 (Present series ) Femoral head circumference > 130

  • 464 V. DAVIVONGS

    2. Sex determination by the femur As can be seen in table 1, most of the

    means of measurements and indices of the femur show significant sex differences. Only four of them: the platymeric index, the shaft robusticity index, the angle of the neck and the angle of torsion, betray no difference of the means. Those which show a high degree of significance and have a small overlapping range between the sexes are selected for appraisal in sex determination; they are :

    1. The diameters of the femoral head. 2. The circumference of the femoral

    head. 3. The transverse condylar breadth. The evaluation can be carried out by

    the application of histograms showing fre- quency distributions in the male and fe- male series and the percentage of overlap between both series will be ascertained. The value for sex determination of any measurement varies inversely with the

    Number of

    percentage of overlap; that is, when the percentage is small the value is high and vice versa.

    From the histograms of the vertical diameter of the head (fig. l ) , the overlap is originally 41% ; that means there are 107 bones from the total of 260 in the overlapping range. This rather high per- centage of overlap is due to a few aberrant bones. After removal of two male bones of 39 mm, two female bones of 42 mm and a female bone of 41 mm in the diameter, the number of bones in the overlapping area drops to 24 or only 9 % . By the hori- zontal diameter of the head, a similar re- sult was obtained. The result in the abo- riginal series is much better than that of American femora taken by Dwight ('05). In that series, he found the original over- lap to be 78.25% and after removal of six male and three female bones (2.25% ), the overlap was 28.90%.

    The femoral head circumference gave a better result than the head diameters.

    35 36 37 38 39 4 0 41 4 2 4 5 44 45 46

    =Male

    47 48 49 5OIWl.

    VERTICAL DIAMETER OF FEMORAL HEAD

    Fig. 1 Distribution of vertical diameter of femoral head.

  • AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL FEMUR 465

    Nu

    3

    I

    1

    110-112 116-118 ITZ-IH 128430 I34436 140-142 l46-140 152-154 IS8460 Il3-II5 119-I21 125427 131-lSJ 137439 UP143 149-151 155-157m*

    CIRCUMFERENCE OF FEMORAL HEAD

    Fig. 2 Distribution of circumference of femoral head.

    The original overlap (fig. 2) is only 29% or 76 bones in the overlapping range. After removing two scattered male bones of 122-124 mm and four female bones of 128-130 mm in the circumference, the overlap decreases to 6.5% that means only 17 bones still remain in the overlapping part.

    By the transverse condylar breadth (fig. 3) , the original percentage of overlap is 46.5 or 118 bones from the total of 254 cannot be differentiated. The percentage decreases to 23.6 when four male bones of 60-63 mm in the breadth are excluded. This measurement is then valuable for sex determination especially in the case of damaged femoral head.

    Table 4 is presented for the purpose of determining sex. It contains the absolute male and female ranges and the over- lapping or dubious portions of the femoral head diameters and the transverse condy- lar breadths in the Australian aborigine,

    the medieval and modern English; and also of the circumference of the femoral head in the Australian aborigine. It is clear that the English femora have larger femoral heads and distal ends. Hence the English standards cannot be used for sex- ing the aboriginal femora.

    The dimensions of the femoral shaft taken at every level cannot be used as a sex indicator because the overlaps between the male and female ranges are very wide. The length of any long bone has been known as a very poor sex indicator and there is no exception for the femoral lengths. For the maximum length of the femur, the overlap of the male and female ranges is as much as 91% which is very high percentage. The femoral head index, the condylar breadth index and all angu- lar measurements have been also proved to be poor sex determinants. The overlaps for the femoral head and condylar breadth indices are 85 and 74% respectively.

  • 466 V. DAVIVONGS

    Number o f Femora

    30 k

    20

    10

    -Female

    54-55 58-59 62-63 66-67 70-11 74-75 7&7? 82-83 56-57 60-61 64)-65 66-69 72-73 76-77 00-81 84-85

    TRANSVERSE CONDYLAR BREADTH

    Fig. 3 Distribution of transverse condylar breadth.

    SUMMARY

    1. This paper records the metrical char- acters of Australian aboriginal femora; 75 pairs of the male and 55 pairs of the female. About 80% of the bones were found in South Australia; there are no records of their ages and sexes. The find- ings were compared with those of other ethnic groups. The sex differences of the bones and their value for sex determina- tion were also discussed.

    2. The aboriginal femora differ from the medieval English femora by the more gracility of the shafts, and smaller heads and condyles. With regard to this, the dif- ference of the shaft robusticity index be- tween these two series enables us to dis- criminate about 40% of the bones of both groups from each other.

    3. The angle of torsion in the Maori and the Australian aborigine is on the average greater than that of the English bones. However, this angle in discrimination of

    groups yields unsatisfactory results com- pared with the shaft robusticity index.

    4. With the exception of those two fea- tures, the aboriginal femora surveyed in this work do not show any marked differ- ences from those of other groups when the means and ranges of variation are taken into account.

    5. The sex differences of the femur are much greater than those ethnic differ- ences. The sex differences, especially in the sizes of the femoral head and distal end, are very obvious in the Australian aboriginal femora and they can be used effectively as sex determinants.

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    I am greatly indebted to Professor A. A. Abbie for his valuable advice and helpful criticism of this work. I am very grateful to Mr. N. B. Tindale, Curator of Anthropol- ogy of the South Australian Museum for his kind permission to examine the mate-

  • AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL FEMUR 467

    rial. Grateful thanks are also due to Mr. P. D. Kempster for providing certain in- struments.

    LITERATURE CITED Abbie, A. A. 1951 The Australian aborigine.

    Oceania, 22: 91-100. 1961 A preliminary survey of the

    growth pattern of Central Australian aborigi- nal males. Oceania, 31: 215-221.

    Buxton, L. H. D. 1938 Platymeria and platy- cnemia. J. Anat., London, 73: 31-36.

    Campbell, T. D., J. H. Gray and C. J. Hackett 1936 Physical anthropology of the aborigines of Central Australia. Part I. Anthropometry. Oceania, 7: 106-139.

    Dwight, T. 1905 The size of the articular sur- faces of the Iong bones as characteristic of sex; an anthropological study. Am. J. Anat., 4:

    Garson, J. G. 1879 Inequality in length of the lower limbs. J. Anat. and Physiol., London,

    Hepburn, D. 1896 The platymeric, pilastric and popliteal indices of the race collection of femora in the Anatomical Museum of the Uni- versity of Edinburgh. J. Anat. and Physiol., London, 31: 116-156.

    Holtby, J. R. D. 1918 Some indices and meas- urements of the modern femur. J. Anat., Lon- don, 52: 363-382.

    19-31.

    13: 502-507.

    Parsons, F. G. 1914 The characters of the Eng- lish thigh-bone. J. Anat. and Physiol., London,

    Pearson, K., and J. Bell 1919 A study of the long bones of the English skeleton. Part I. The femur. Drapers Co. Research Mem., Bio- metric series X, Cambridge Univ. Press.

    1941 Measurements on the human femur. Part I. Lengths, diameters and angles. Quart. Bull., Northwestern Univ. M. School, 15: 281-290.

    Ray, L. J. 1959 Metrical and non-metrical fea- tures of the clavicle of the Australian aborigi- nal. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop., ns., 17: 217-226.

    Schofield, G. 1959 Metric and morphological features of the femur of the New Zealand Maori. J. Roy. Anthrop. Inst., 89: 89-105.

    Stirling, E. C. 1896 Report on the work of the Horn Scientific Expedition to Central Australia. Part IV. Anthropology, pp. 149-153. Ed. by B. Spencer. Dulau Co., London.

    Turner, W. 1886 Report on the human crania and other bones of the skeletons collected dur- ing the voyage of H.M.S. Challenger in the years 1873-1876. Part 11. The bones of the skeleton. The Stationery Office, London.

    Wilder, H. H. 1920 A Laboratory Manual of Anthropometry. P. Blakistons Son & Co., Philadelphia.

    Wood, W. Q. 1920 The tibia of the Australian aborigine. J. Anat., London, 54: 232-257.

    48: 238-267.

    Pick, J. W., J. K. Stack and B. J. Anson

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