Mandibles are one of the most common bones encountered in the human archaeological record. Variation in mandibular morphology is often associated with differences in subsistence strategy as masticatory stresses influence bone growth and development. Bone growth is stimulated by bone modeling, the process by which formation and resorption occur through the uncoupled activities of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, respectively. There is a limited understanding of bone modeling patterns in humans due to a lack of quantitative data and small sample sizes. The aim of this research was to address the question: is there a shared bone modeling pattern in the mandible of Homo sapiens? To address this question, this research analyzed bone modeling patterns during ontogeny in a sample of 48 mandibles from three geographically diverse populations with differing subsistence strategies: Western Europe (France and Germany), Greenland (Inuit), and South Africa (Khoe khoe and San). The sample was divided into four age categories. Epoxy replicas of the bone were analyzed under a digital microscope, and bone resorption was identified and quantified to create digital bone modeling maps. This study found subtle population differences throughout ontogeny, with bone modeling patterns that diverge during adulthood, possibly related to subsistence strategy. This study contributes to research on bone modeling patterns in the craniofacial system of H. sapiens, expanding on our understanding of bone growth dynamics and morphological adaptations.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Hubbart, Madison, "Population Differences in Human Mandibular Growth" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1580.