Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Pamela K. Stone

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles E. Hilton

Third Advisor

Dr. Brian G. Richmond

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This empirical project examines human inferior femoral neck cortical bone and the response in this region to mechanical loading in association with bipedalism. It is suggested that habitual activity induces cortical bone hypertrophy. A radiographic analysis of femoral neck cortical bone was completed using two samples of individuals. One group following a normal developmental trajectory of walking was compared to another who has never walked as a result of cerebral palsy (CP) or spina bifida (SB). Two research questions were addressed: (1) Is the amount of femoral neck inferior cortical bone equal to or different from that seen in the superior femoral neck in individuals who have experienced different histories of biomechanical loading? (2) Is this trait a phenotypically plastic trait?

Measurements were taken of the femoral neck inferior and superior cortical borders and compared across the two samples. Unpaired t-tests and descriptive statistics were conducted to identify significant differences between the two groups. The results demonstrate that non-walkers exhibit more uniform superior and inferior cortex distribution than normal walkers; normal walkers exhibit the expected uneven femoral neck cortical bone distribution. The femoral neck inferior cortical hypertrophy as a phenotypically plastic trait is not supported from the data. Though the difference between the two groups is statistically significant, it is not large enough to apply this trait to the fossil record with accuracy in identifying bipedalism.

Included in

Anthropology Commons