Size and shape of the human foot bone from Klasies River main site, South Africa

Zipfel, Bernhard
Kidd, Robert S.
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Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, University of the Witwatersrand
Rightmire et al. (2006) recently described three human metatarsal bones of Middle Stone Age antiquity from Klasies River Mouth (KRM) main site, South Africa. One of these, a complete adult left first metatarsal is broadly similar to Late Stone Age (LSA) Holocene skeletons from the southern coastal margins of the Cape, and based on size, was suggested to be from a male. Our analysis subjected the KRM first metatarsal and comparative human samples to selected morphometric analyses, in an attempt to test the hypothesis regarding shape associated sexual dimorphism as a means to estimate sex in the KRM individual. The results support earlier suggestions that it falls within the range of early Holocene variation, this being very narrow both in size and shape. The size-independent shape-associated morphology, however, suggests that the individual may be female. Even though these findings imply that the KRM individual may have been female based on sexually dimorphic shape-associated discrimination in LSA Holocene people, they are not conclusive and that this individual could probably be assigned to either sex.
first metatarsal, Middle Stone Age, Klasies River Mouth, morphometrics, sexual dimorphism