March 23, 2006

Body size and proportions of Tyrolean Ice Man

J Hum Evol. 2006 Mar 17; [Epub ahead of print]

Body size, body proportions, and mobility in the Tyrolean "Iceman"

Ruff CB et al.

Body mass and structural properties of the femoral and tibial midshafts of the "Iceman," a late Neolithic (5200BP) mummy found in the Tyrolean Alps, are determined from computed tomographic scans of his body, and compared with those of a sample of 139 males spanning the European early Upper Paleolithic through the Bronze Age. Two methods, based on femoral head breadth and estimated stature/bi-iliac (pelvic) breath, yield identical body-mass estimates of 61kg for the Iceman. In combination with his estimated stature of 158cm, this indicates a short but relatively wide or stocky body compared to our total sample. His femur is about average in strength compared to our late Neolithic (Eneolithic) males, but his tibia is well above average. His femur also shows adaptations for his relatively broad body (mediolateral strengthening), while his tibia shows adaptations for high mobility over rough terrain (anteroposterior strengthening). In many respects, his tibia more closely resembles those of European Mesolithic rather than Neolithic males, which may reflect a more mobile lifestyle than was characteristic of most Neolithic males, perhaps related to a pastoral subsistence strategy. There are indications that mobility in general declined between the European Mesolithic and late Neolithic, and that body size and shape may have become more variable throughout the continent following the Upper Paleolithic.


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