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'Škultétyová A, Krenz-Niedbała M, Králík M, Fojtík P, Sedláčková L, 2022: METRIC DIFFERENCES IN ADULT SECOND
METACARPAL BONES RELATED
TO AGE-AT-DEATH AND THEIR COMPARISON
BETWEEN RECENT AND HISTORICAL
POPULATIONS. Anthropologie (Brno) 60, 2: 265-303'.
|Hand bones can reflect external factors during ontogenesis and individual life history. The goal of this study
was to examine age-related changes in the 2nd metacarpal in adulthood. Metacarpal bones of archaeologically excavated
adult skeletons from three different medieval burial sites—Cedynia (Poland), Brno–Vídeňská Street (Czech Republic), and
Dětkovice–Za zahradama (Czech Republic)—were collected, described, and scanned by means of a flatbed scanner in
standardized dorsal and radial positions into two-dimensional images. On them, four measurements (one length and three
widths) were taken on each view and subsequently subjected to statistical regression methods in order to quantify their
relationship with age at death. These trends were compared with those in a documented sample of the Athens Human
Skeletal Reference Collection of the recent Greek population. In females, no significant relationship between the length of
the 2nd metacarpal and age at death (AAD) was observed. In females, mostly positive relationships between width
measurements and AAD were observed, ranging typically between 3 to 7% over 30 years, with maximum of ca. 9% in
midshaft width in the right hand in dorsal view. These relationships were more statistically significant for the recent than
for the medieval sample which might be attributed to differences in sample size, and the nature of AAD (documented vs.
estimated). In males, relationships between width measurements and AAD (i.e., an increase with age) were also prevalently
positive but much lower than in females and mostly not statistically significant. The systematic increase of the width
measurements in females and the differences from males of the same samples suggest certain specificities of women's life
histories in adulthood that would be worth further investigation in terms of the influence of external factors. Potential
methodological biases due to the cross-sectional nature of the samples and sampling selectivity are further discussed.
|Metacarpal bones – Age-related changes – Life history – Age at death – Osteometry