Cross-sectional geometries are examined in chapter 2; long bones can be envisioned as beams that experience biomechanical stresses, such as bending, torsion, and compressive forces, to which they remodel to prevent from breaking. Using cross-sectional measures, such as moments of inertia that represent bone’s ability to resist bending and torsional stresses, researchers can determine the direction of stresses and, therefore, the activities that cause these stresses. One common activity examined is mobility, which leads to anteroposteriorly oriented femoral cross-sections due to bending stresses. Asymmetry studies on tennis players have helped confirm that cross-sectional geometries change in response to activities. Yet animal studies, such as those on baboons, have been key in helping bioarchaeologists understand the non-activity pressures, such as age, sex, and genes, on cross-sectional geometries.
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