International Journal of Anthropology

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 289–301

External-internal relationships in humeri of modern human females

  • P. A. McLorg

DOI: 10.1007/BF02447571

Cite this article as:
McLorg, P.A. Int. J. Anthropol. (1994) 9: 289. doi:10.1007/BF02447571


With data from an early twentieth century human skeletal collection, this exploratory study investigates associations between inner cortical and medullary cavity structures and outer shaft and epiphyseal features of a long bone. Humeri are measured directly in both whole bone and transverse section contexts; data along 2 axes at 2 sites are obtained. Twenty-two probable females, with an age range concentrated in middle adulthood, comprise the sample. Correlations between multiple external and internal bone measurements are analyzed, with the aim of yielding information on the physical nature of bone and on the effects of different measurement types, locations, and orientations for bone relationships. The study also examines whether prediction of inner humeral dimensions from outer measurements would be appropriate. Results indicate biepicondylar width and maximum length as the strongest external correlates of cortical dimensions. Contrasting with studies on the proximal femur, the humeral head shows external size changeability, mostly in the transverse plane, in response to modeling forces shared with the shaft. Epiphyseal measures are more highly associated with absolute rather than percent, and areal rather than linear, cortical variables. Medullary cavity dimensions are not significantly correlated with whole bone measures. Most associations demonstrate shape or proportion influences rather than a shared effect of linear body size. Regarding location and orientation, the distal site and medial-lateral axis display the strongest correlations among external and internal bone dimensions. In light of the demonstrated correlation patterns, prediction of humeral cortical quantity from external bone measures in living and skeletal populations would benefit from utilizing (1) biepicondylar width and maximum length; (2) an absolute, areal cortical measure; (3) a distal location; and (4) a medial-lateral orientation.

Key words

osteologycortical boneshaft and epiphyseal measurementsbone sectioning

Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. McLorg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA