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Title: A quantitative and descriptive approach to morphological variation of the endocranial base in modern humans
Authors: Bruner, Emiliano
Ripani, Maurizio
Keywords: Cranial base;Endocranial fossae;Functional craniology;Morphological integration
Issue Date: Sep-2008
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2008, 137 (1), 30-40
Abstract: The cranial base is one of the major foci of interest in functional craniology. The evolution and morphogenesis of this structure are still poorly known and rather controversial because of multifactorial influences and polyphasic stages. Endocranial dynamics are associated anteriorly with the upper facial structures, laterally with the mandibular system and midsagittally with brain development. In the present study, we investigated the endocranial morphology of modern humans using 3D landmark‐based approaches, i.e. geometric morphometrics and Euclidean distance matrix analysis. The structure of endocranial variation is poorly integrated, with only weak reciprocal influences among the three fossae. Some major variations are associated with changes in the posterior fossa, with possible consequences on the anterior areas. These main patterns of integration are hypothesized to be influenced by the connective tensors of the dura layers. Static allometry and sex differences are largely related to the ontogenetic sequences, characterized by early maturation of the anterior fossa with respect to the middle and posterior regions (i.e., relatively shorter posterior part of the planum sphenoideum and vertical lengthening of the clivus in males). The relative independence between the endocranial fossae, as well as their structural connection through the meningeal tensors, must be carefully considered in studies on the evolutionary dynamics, since they lead to mosaic changes through phylogeny.
ISSN: 0002-9483
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20837
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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