A simple procedure for investigating differences in sexual dimorphism between populations
AuthorsLewis, Stephen J.
AffiliationChester College of Higher Education
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AbstractAlthough sexual dimorphism has a strong genetic component in many animals, external factors may alter its expression - enhancing or diminishing it depending on the parameter measured and the type of influence experienced. A measure of sexual dimorphism may be used, therefore, to characterise a whole population and the factors acting upon it. Differences between populations for such factors may then be investigated by comparing sexual dimorphisms and may be more informative than merely comparing population means. A quick and relatively simple technique which provides a coefficient of the relationship between a continuous variable and another which is dichotomous, such as sex, is the point biserial correlation. This is a less frequently described extension of the commonly used Pearson product-moment correlation. The point-biserial correlation coefficients can be calculated for a given parameter and compared to determine whether the same sexual dimorphism is evident in different samples. If it is not, some factor influencing one or other population, as a whole, may require further investigation. The full procedure, which can be performed without the need for statistical tables, and the necessary formulae are described. This method, in its generalised form, may also be applied to the study of bilateral asymmetry.
CitationIn K. Boyle & S. Anderson (Eds.), Computing and statistics in osteoarchaeology (pp. 35-37). Oxford: Oxbow Books, 1997.
DescriptionThis is the author's PDF version of an book chapter published in Computing and statistics in osteoarchaeology ©1997. The paper was originally delivered at the second meeting of the Osteoarchaeological Research Group at the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London on 8 April 1995.
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