Ontogeny of the male femur: Geometric morphometric analysis applied to a contemporary Spanish population

Aniol Pujol, Carme Rissech, Jacint Ventura, Daniel Turbõn

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11 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Objective To describe the morphological changes of the male femur during the adolescent growth spurt and to compare the pattern obtained with that reported previously for females. Material and Methods Two hundred and forty males from a Spanish population aged between 9 and 16 years were analysed, based on telemetries. Size and shape variation of the femur was quantified by 22 2D-landmarks and analysed using geometric morphometric methods. Likewise, the variation of neck-shaft and bicondylar angles were also determined and evaluated by Student's t-test. Sexual differences were analysed by comparing results here obtained on boys with those corresponding to girls reported in a previous study. Results In males, both size and shape varied significantly with age, with males having larger dimensions than females. In general terms, these changes are generally characterised by an increase in robustness of the femur and shape modifications in the epiphyses. During growth, the neck-shaft angle decreases and the size of the greater and lesser trochanters increase. A significant increase of distal epiphyseal dimensions was recorded, mainly in the medial condyle. The angular remodeling of both the neck and the bicondylar regions of the male femur continues until 16 and 15 years, respectively. Female and male femur each followed divergent growth trajectories. Males showed a greater variability in neck-shaft and bicondylar angles than females. Discussion The timing, morphology and growth trajectories provided on the femur during development can be very helpful in anthropological, paleoanthropological and evolution studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-163
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • development
  • geometric morphometric
  • lower limb
  • male femur
  • ontogeny
  • subadult individuals


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