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Covariation between the shape and mineralized tissues of the rib cross section in Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes and Sts 14

López‐Rey, José M., Cambra‐Moo, Óscar, González Martín, Armando, Candelas González, Nieves, Sánchez‐Andrés, Ángeles, Tawane, Mirriam, Cazenave, Marine, Williams, Scott A., Bastir, Markus, García‐Martínez, Daniel and others. (2023) Covariation between the shape and mineralized tissues of the rib cross section in Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes and Sts 14. American Journal of Biological Anthropology, 183 (1). pp. 157-164. ISSN 2692-7691. (doi:10.1002/ajpa.24844) (KAR id:103039)



Studying rib torsion is crucial for understanding the evolution of the hominid ribcage. Interestingly, there are variables of the rib cross section that could be associated with rib torsion and, consequently, with the morphology of the thorax. The aim of this research is to conduct a comparative study of the shape and mineralized tissues of the rib cross section in different hominids to test for significant differences and, if possible, associate them to different thoracic morphotypes.

Materials and Methods

The sample consists of the rib cross sections at the midshaft taken from 10 Homo sapiens and 10 Pan troglodytes adult individuals, as well as from A. africanus Sts 14. The shape of these rib cross sections was quantified using geometric morphometrics, while the mineralized tissues were evaluated using the compartmentalization index. Subsequently, covariation between both parameters was tested by a Spearman's ρ test, a permutation test and a linear regression.


Generally, P. troglodytes individuals exhibit rib cross sections that are rounder and more mineralized compared to those of H. sapiens. However, the covariation between both parameters was only observed in typical ribs (levels 3–10). Although covariation was not found in the rib cross sections of Sts 14, their parameters are closer to P. troglodytes.


On the one hand, the differences observed in the rib cross sections between H. sapiens and P. troglodytes might be related to different degrees of rib torsion and, consequently, to different thoracic 3D configurations. These findings can be functionally explained by considering their distinct modes of breathing and locomotion. On the other hand, although the rib cross sections belonging to Sts 14 are more similar to those of P. troglodytes, previous publications determined that their overall morphology is closer to modern humans. This discrepancy could reflect a diversity of post‐cranial adaptations in Australopithecus.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ajpa.24844
Uncontrolled keywords: Paleontology, Archeology, Genetics, Anthropology, Anatomy, Epidemiology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Funders: Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2023 15:29 UTC
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2024 15:30 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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