Skeletal variability of the fibular ends and evolutionary implications

Pietrobelli, Annalisa (2023) Skeletal variability of the fibular ends and evolutionary implications, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze della terra, della vita e dell'ambiente, 35 Ciclo.
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This thesis investigates the morphological variations of fibular extremities in humans and non-human hominids using a 3D Geometric Morphometric approach. The study has three objectives: (1) to assess the shape, form, and size variations of fibular epiphyses within the human species, highlighting sexually dimorphic features; (2) to explore interpopulation variability of fibular extremities from the Upper Paleolithic to the 20th century, comparing subsistence, mobility, and lifestyles; and (3) to examine interspecific variations in fibular ends, testing potential associations with locomotor and positional behavior among extant hominid taxa. In terms of intraspecific variations, sex-related differences in fibular form and size were observed, suggesting distinct functional requirements for the lower limb between sexes. Interpopulation variations revealed a decline in activity level over time, influenced by terrain and footwear use. Hunter-gatherer groups exhibited greater joint mobility, loading, and range of motion compared to sedentary pre- and post-industrial populations. Interspecific variations demonstrated significant morphological differences among hominid taxa, indicating functional implications related to both phylogeny and specific loading patterns on the lower limb. The study identified features indicative of bipedalism in humans, as well as shared characteristics among non-human great apes. Furthermore, distinguishing features were found between Asian and African apes, along with unique morphological signals associated with distinct positional behavior in each hominid taxa. By comprehensively analyzing fibular morphology, this research sheds light on the importance of this bone in knee support, ankle stabilization, and overall locomotor function. The findings contribute to our understanding of the evolutionary and functional aspects of the fibula across human populations and non-human hominids throughout history.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Pietrobelli, Annalisa
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
functional morphology; lower limb; locomotion; fibula
Data di discussione
15 Giugno 2023

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