Nonmetric Population Variation In The Skulls of Human Perinates

Seth M. Weinberg

MA Thesis 2002

Literature suggests there are may be diagnostic diferences in carniofacial morphology between African- and European-derived fetuses. These reports, however, have provided only descriptive accounts and have not been consistent regarding which traits are diagnostic. To help clarify the situation, thirteen non-metric craniofacial traits wherestatistically in a sample of 70 perinatal African-derived (n=35) and European-derived(n=35) specimens obtained from the Smithsonian Institution's fetal osteology collection. Chi-square analysis revealed significant (p<0.05) differences in five of the thirteen non-metric traits. European-derived perinates more frequently possessed a realtively narrow supraoccipital portion of the occiptal squamous, a prominent anterior nasal spine, "deep" subnasal margins, an elongnated vomer, and semi-circular temporal squama. The statistical evidence that at least some population differences in the craniofacial region arise so early in development, may be of great use to forensic anthropologists who encounter unidentified material from this age range.