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Changes in the form of the facial skeleton during growth: A comparative morphometric study of modern humans and neanderthals

Vidarsdottir, Una Strand; (1999) Changes in the form of the facial skeleton during growth: A comparative morphometric study of modern humans and neanderthals. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines variation in the modern human facial skeleton from an ontogenetic perspective, to establish the extent to which different growth patterns contribute to distinct facial forms. It then compares these patterns with those of Neanderthals. The analyses are carried out using tools from Geometric Morphometries. The thesis is divided into four sections. The first examines the nature of facial growth in one modern human population. A single allometric growth vector is found, which is stable in the absence of several commonly missing landmarks, and predictable from the morphology of limited skeletal units within the face. The second section examines differences in facial shape between modern human populations. It finds that modern human populations can be separated based on facial shape alone, irrespective of age or sex. Additionally, some populations have distinct facial growth vectors. It concludes that population-specific facial morphologies develop through distinctions in facial shapes at birth that are further accentuated during growth, and differences in the allometric growth process. The third section studies the ontogeny of sexual dimorphism in the facial skeleton of modern humans. From this study it appears that sexual dimorphism in the shape of the human facial skeleton is established early and maintained at all stages of growth. Additionally, sexual dimorphism in facial form develops through two separate processes: an overall shift of the relationship between size and shape in the growth component in the male, and/or an extension of this component in the male. The final section examines differences between modern humans and Neanderthals. It finds Neanderthal growth to differ significantly from that of all modern human populations. It is the conclusion of this thesis that the shape of the facial skeleton is primarily species-specific, secondarily population-specific, and thirdly sex- specific. Differences in shape are established by birth and then carried through and often accentuated by diverse growth patterns. The growth vector itself differs between species and populations, but not within populations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Changes in the form of the facial skeleton during growth: A comparative morphometric study of modern humans and neanderthals
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences; Facial skeleton
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103464
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