Catalyzing New International Collaborations: 3D Morphometric and Biomechanical Analyses of the Human Lower Limb

Project: Research project

Project Details


This award provides funding to initiate a new international collaboration between researchers at Pennsylvania State University and three European Universities - the University of Vienna, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Bologna. The goal of the project is to develop new methods for analyzing the three-dimensional (3D) structure and associated functions of human limb bones. The project will bring together experts in analyses of skeletal form and morphometrics from the Universities of Vienna and Bologna and experts in skeletal biomechanics from Penn State and the University of Cambridge. The primary goal is to develop new methods for integrative analyses of the bones of the lower limb in humans. These methods will be developed within the context of several specific questions relating to the morphology of the human lower limb and will be addressed using existing 3D high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) data and new HRCT data collected at Penn State and Vienna. The award will support planning visits, new data collection, and US graduate student training. The data produced will be of significant importance to a broad range of anthropological, paleontological, and archaeological studies.

Intellectual Merit. The expectations of this study are to develop a new understanding of the significance of variation in whole diaphysis cortical bone structure and whole bone shape. In so doing, this collaboration will illuminate the relative importance and usefulness of bone functional adaptation in shaping the elements of the human lower limb. The simultaneous analysis of bone shape and mechanical adaptation is expected to be a powerful tool to produce a broader understanding of skeletal functional adaptation.

Broader Impacts. This study enhances the infrastructure of research in physical anthropology by merging methodological approaches in morphological analysis to gain an understanding of skeletal variation and functional adaptation for use in paleontological and bioarchaeological behavioral reconstructions. This project will catalyze collaboration among researchers from the United States, Austria, Italy, and England, each of whom has specific expertise in 2D and 3D morphometric and biomechanical techniques. This project will enhance the educational experience of several U.S. students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels including one female minority graduate student at Penn State. Data, methods, and theoretical concepts will also be incorporated into current undergraduate courses taught by the PI at Penn State.

Effective start/end date7/1/126/30/14


  • National Science Foundation: $64,343.00


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