Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Anthropology

Degree Level





Plavcan, Joseph M.

Committee Member/Reader

Ungar, Peter

Committee Member/Second Reader

Ivey, Mack

Committee Member/Third Reader

Clay, Matt


This thesis details a series of novel methods developed to estimate body masses of hominin fossils using 3-D point cloud registration software. All analyses were conducted through 3-D modeling software that supported the remote study of five fossil femora from East Africa. The fossil computer models were repeatedly aligned with anatomically modern human femora to determine their scaling relationship with the objective of using the scaling factor of the human references to estimate the body mass of the fossils, on the basis of the femoral head breadth. Body mass estimates obtained through this technique were compared to estimates using more conventional techniques, as well as estimates from prior studies for the same fossil specimens. The scaling factors and body mass estimates showed significant statistical variation, but in comparing the results to estimates from prior studies, it was demonstrated that the scaling method has potential as an additional tool for the reconstruction of body mass in fossils.


body mass, hominins, scaling, point cloud registration, heat map