Morphometric maps of bilateral asymmetry in the human humerus: An implementation in the R package morphomap

Antonio Profico*, Carlotta Zeppilli, Ileana Micarelli, Alessandro Mondanaro, Pasquale Raia, Damiano Marchi, Giorgio Manzi, Paul O’higgins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In biological anthropology, parameters relating to cross-sectional geometry are calculated in paired long bones to evaluate the degree of lateralization of anatomy and, by inference, function. Here, we describe a novel approach, newly added to the morphomap R package, to assess the lateralization of the distribution of cortical bone along the entire diaphysis. The sample comprises paired long bones belonging to 51 individuals (10 females and 41 males) from The New Mexico Decedent Image Database with known biological profile, occupational and loading histories. Both males and females show a pattern of right lateralization. In addition, males are more lateralized than females, whereas there is not a significant association between lateralization with occupation and loading history. Body weight, height and long-bone length are the major factors driving the emergence of asymmetry in the humerus, while interestingly, the degree of lateralization decreases in the oldest individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1711
Issue number9
Early online date16 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (H2020 Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Actions) under grant agreement H2020-MSCA-IF-2018 No. 835571 to Antonio Profico and Paul O?Higgins.The authors are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Biological anthropology
  • Biomechanics
  • Cortical thickness
  • Lateralization
  • Modern humans
  • Upper limb

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