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Master Thesis

Asymmetry of hands on modern human: a geometric morphometric analysis of metacarpal bones

Abstract : The subject of this master thesis concerns the asymmetry of modern human hands. The aim of this dissertation was to know which measures taken with a geometric morphometric analysis allowed us to recognize the asymmetry in metacarpal bones and to develop a method that can be reproduced in future researches. To do so, we selected individuals from the San Pablo cemetery (13th to 15th centuries) and scanned their metacarpals with the Breuckmann surface scanner, in order to obtain a three-dimensional image of each bone. Then, we applied twenty-two preselected landmarks on every bone. Once the coordinates of the landmarks were exported in a database, we used a mathematical formula to obtain eleven measures. To study and interpret these measures, four statistical tests were made. The Two-sample paired test (T-test) allowed us to see which measures had a statistically significant difference. Our results showed that for all the metacarpals, the maximal length (ML) and the articular length (AL) exhibit the most the asymmetry between the right and the left sides, while the distal maximal breadth (DMB) follows. However, some measures don’t or almost don’t exhibit the asymmetry. Also, this test expresses that some metacarpals, like the MC1, have more measures that can exhibit the asymmetry than others, like the MC2. Finally, we did a Principal Component analysis. This test confirmed the importance of the ML and AL measures by making them the principal components in the ordination of the data. We also noticed that no individual is really different or asymmetrical, compared to the rest of the group, for all the metacarpal bones. All these tests have allowed us to state that it is possible to discern the asymmetry in human modern hands, more specifically in metacarpal bones, using geometric morphometric analysis and this by the ML and AL measures. And that, by the results we obtained with the repeatability test and the statistical tests, we can also state that this method is effective, reliable and can be reproduce.
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Master Thesis
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Submitted on : Friday, October 12, 2018 - 9:59:22 AM
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Valérie Deschênes. Asymmetry of hands on modern human: a geometric morphometric analysis of metacarpal bones. Archaeology and Prehistory. 2017. ⟨dumas-01723522⟩

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