As part of my dissertation research, I began looking into the relationship between midshaft femur geometry and body mass. My colleagues and I recently published a paper demonstrating a strong correlation between midshaft femur J and body mass in subadults (Robbins et al. 2010). Given the strength of this relationship, I also predicted that the midshaft femur could be used to examine emaciation in the subadult skeleton using BMI (Robbins and Cowgill 2009; Robbins 2011). This hypothesis has thus far been supported in tests of contemporary cadaver samples and archaeological materials.


Previously, I used a set of age structured LS regression formulas to estimate body mass from subadult femur midshaft geometry (Robbins et al. 2010). Currently, I am preparing a paper for publication that describes a new statistical approach to these data. Because there is auto-correlation in the Denver growth data used to develop all the currently available methods for subadult body mass estimation (Robbins et al. 2010; Ruff 2007), it is more appropriate to predict body mass using a statistical procedure that can account for longitudinal and cross-sectional variation in the data. Panel regression provides a more accurate and precise method to estimate body mass fom the subadult femur and because it prouces one formula to describe the relationship among the two variables for kids 1-12 years old it also eliminates error associated with age estimation. This paper will be submitted to AJPA soon.


I am currently exploring the intersection between histology and growth in the subadult midshaft femur cross-section. Using 94 samples from cadaveric and prehistoric samples, my colleague Haviva Goldman (Drexel University) and I intend to examine the range of variation in tissue distribution, BSU types, and porosity at the midshaft femur with age in individuals with normal and subnormal growth profiles. This work will be conducted in 3 dimensions (using the micro-CT) and in 2 dimensions (using backscattered SEM).


I am also in the initial stages of a project that will examine the range of variation in the human tibial plateau in relationship to age and body mass using 3d morphometrics.



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