Robusticity and rugosity in the modern human skeleton
This is an investigation of the relationships between robusticity and rugosity in the postcranial and cranial skeleton of modern humans. Robusticity is defined here as the strength of an element relative to its size, and refers to the thickness of limb bones for their length, and the relative size of cranial features. Rugosity refers to the surface features of bone, in particular fibrous and fibrocartilaginous entheses. Both data types may provide information about the lives of the individuals to whom the skeletal remains belonged. The two data types may also reflect different remodelling processes in the skeleton. Demographic and environmental variables are investigated in their influence on global variation in both robusticity and rugosity. Subsistence strategy and sex are shown to be the most significant influences on robusticity and rugosity, once other variables are held constant. Body shape and size also influence both cranial and postcranial size and robusticity. However, both robusticity and rugosity demonstrate considerable individual variation both between and within populations. The combination of robusticity and rugosity data in the same analyses is novel, and provides a chance to establish whether the two kinds of data reflect the same underlying osteogenic processes. Robusticity and rugosity in the cranial and postcranial skeleton are shown to correlate only in general terms. This demonstrates that despite the two data types being collected from the same skeletons, they do indeed reflect subtle differences in human skeletal response to demographic, ethnic and environmental influences.