Regional Patterns of Gender Differences in Body Build in Modern Human Populations

Elena Godina, Marina Negasheva, Marina Negasheva


One of the most important aspects in modern anthropological research is the study of the level of sexual dimorphism in morphological characteristics, because its variability in different populations may serve as an indicator of the influence of environmental factors, including those of ecological and social stress. The aim of this paper is to study the regional differences in variations of sexual dimorphism indicators in morphological characteristics of various population groups in Russia and the neighbouring countries.  

Complex anthropological investigations of students were carried out in several cities of Russia (Moscow, Samara, Arkhangelsk, Saransk) and neighbouring countries (the city of Tiraspol, Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic), as well as in the villages of Zubovo-Polyansky district of Mordovia. Data on 756 young women and 651 young men, mostly of Russian ethnicity, between 17 to 23 years of age (total number 1407 individuals) are presented in this paper. The programme included the following measurements: height and body weight, shoulder and pelvic breadth, circumferences of trunk and extremities, skinfolds thickness. To evaluate the level of sexual dimorphism the following indices were used in this study: coefficient of sexual dimorphism according to Deryabin, index of sexual dimorphism according to Tanner, and Mahalanobis distances between male and female groups obtained by multivariate discriminant analysis. Despite of some mosaic patterns in separate somatic traits, young men and women from Moscow were the tallest among their counterparts from other regions, with the lowest values of subcutaneous fat layer. The analysis of all sets of measurements (skeletal traits, circumferences, skinfolds) revealed minimal level of sex differences in Moscow students when compared to young men and women investigated in other areas (Arkhangelsk, Samara, Saransk, Tiraspol and the villages of Mordovia). In Moscow as compared to other regions, the highest frequency of girls with andromorphic body type occurred (32%) and the lowest frequency of those with the gynecomorphic type (6%), which was the reflection of the trend towards relative somatic masculinity of modern young women living in Moscow megapolis.


anthropology, sexual dimorphism, somatic traits, regional differences, Russian students

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