Nonmetric traits of the human skeleton are thought to correlate with genetic and/or environmental influences; however, to what extent each may affect the presence of nonmetric traits has not been clearly substantiated in the literature. Nonmetric traits as defined by Larsen are, "discrete or quasi-continuous anatomical entities often expressed as gradations from absence to full expression" (1997:305). More precisely, nonmetric traits are anomalies that express themselves in the skeleton and are recorded as absent or present. A third trochanter is one of many nonmetric traits present in the femur and is defined by Finnegan as, "a rounded tubercle that can be found at the superior end of the gluteal crest" of the femur (1978:25). The third trochanter is considered an enthesopathy as well as a nonmetric trait because it is the insertion point of the gluteus maximus muscle, "the most superficial muscle in the gluteal region" (Gray 1918:426). Recent studies (Hawkey and Merbs 1995, Knusel 2000) indicate that enthesopathies are closely linked to patterns of subsistence, habitual activities and geographic location. It should also be noted that enthesopathies have been directly related to pathology, trauma, biological diversity, age, hormonal, and rheumatic conditions (Hawkey and Merbs 1995, Jurmain 1999). This research will examine the correlation between sex, age, pathology, and environmental influences on the presence of third trochanters in pre-contact populations of the Upper Midwest region of the United States.


Kathleen T. Blue

Committee Member

Debra L. Gold

Committee Member

Paul F. Brown

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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