Three-dimensional geometric morphometric studies of modern human occipital variation

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Date: Jan. 14, 2021
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 1)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 7,351 words
Lexile Measure: 1490L

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Abstract :

Objectives To investigate three-dimensional morphological variation of the occipital bone between sexes and among populations, to determine how ancestry, sex and size account for occipital shape variation and to describe the exact forms by which the differences are expressed. Methods CT data for 214 modern crania of Asian, African and European ancestry were compared using 3D geometric morphometrics and multivariate statistics, including principal component analysis, Hotelling's T.sup.2 test, multivariate regression, ANOVA, and MANCOVA. Results Sex differences in average occipital morphology are only observed in Europeans, with males exhibiting a pronounced inion. Significant ancestral differences are observed among all samples and are shared by males and females. Asian and African crania have smaller biasterionic breadths and flatter clivus angles compared to Europeans. Asian and European crania are similar in their nuchal and occipital plane proportions, nuchal and occipital angles, and lower inion positions compared to Africans. Centroid size significantly differs between sexes and among populations. The overall allometry, while significant, explains little of the shape variation. Larger occipital bones were associated with a more curved occipital plane, a pronounced inion, a narrower biasterionic breadth, a more flexed clivus, and a lower and relatively smaller foramen magnum. Conclusions Although significant shape differences were observed among populations, it is not recommended to use occipital morphology in sex or population estimation as both factors explained little of the observed variance. Other factors, relating to function and the environment, are suggested to be greater contributors to occipital variation. For the same reason, it is also not recommended to use the occiput in phylogenetic studies.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A648383574