Analysis of Pelvic Morphology and Birthing Practices:Comparisons of Modern and Prehistoric Humans


  • Jessica Engel Faculty Advisor: Dr. Geoffrey Thomas Department of Anthropology Florida State University


obstetrics, childbirth


Obstetrics has changed drastically with improvements from the scientific community, but there are still many places of the world where modern medicine is underutilized. This study compares cultural practices of childbirth and pelvic morphology in industrialized humans and prehistoric humans. Morphological changes in the female pelvis were investigated using the Paleo-Indian population and Windover samples for the prehistoric data, as
well as the Tague and Lovejoy samples and measurements from the Midwife Information and Resource Service for the industrialized data. Investigations of ethnographic accounts illustrate variations in birthing practices and facilitate comparisons for successful birthing. Results suggest a narrowing of the birth canal has occurred when comparing industrialized humans to prehistoric humans; thus, modern females may face more difficulty in labor.Moreover, wide adaptability in practices from culture to culture does not suggest a definite
successful method, but highlights common procedures spanning groups that can point towards more effective means of giving birth.

Author Biography

Jessica Engel, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Geoffrey Thomas Department of Anthropology Florida State University

Jessica Engel is a senior at Florida State University pursuing a
Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology after receiving a Bachelor’s
degree in Environmental Studies at the University of West
Florida. She is a native of Pensacola and aspires to attend
graduate school in biological anthropology in Fall 2013.






Research Articles