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, 56 (2), 153-60

Sexual Dimorphism in the Human Pelvis: Testing a New Hypothesis

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Sexual Dimorphism in the Human Pelvis: Testing a New Hypothesis

H Correia et al. Homo.

Abstract

Sexual dimorphism in the human pelvis is inferentially related to parturition. Investigators disagree about the identification and obstetric significance of pelvic dimorphism. Benefiting from a large sample of complete skeletons from the Coimbra Identified Skeletal Collection, we show that the dimensions of the true pelvis (birth canal) that are most sexually dimorphic (that is, the dimensions of females are greater than males) are those which are related to biparietal deformation, which often leads to the death of the human neonate. These dimensions are: the anteroposterior diameter of the inlet (index of dimorphism = 108.41), the transverse diameter of the bispinous midplane (index of dimorphism = 117.13) and the transverse diameter of the outlet (index of dimorphism = 112.3). Therefore, sexual dimorphism in the human pelvis is a reflection of differential selection on the two sexes. These results may stimulate further studies with a fresh approach regarding the fossil and comparative evidence for when and how the modern pattern of birth has evolved.

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