August 27, 2006

Trends in cranial capacity and shape in Sub-Saharan Africa

American Journal of Human Biology
Volume 5, Issue 4 , Pages 473 - 479

Trends in cranial capacity and cranial index in Subsaharan Africa during the Holocene

M. Henneberg, M. Stein


Craniometric data have been collected from published and unpublished reports of numerous authors on 961 male and 439 female crania from various sites in Subsaharan Africa spanning the last 100 ka. All data available in the literature, irrespective of their racial affinities, were used to cover the prehistoric and early historic times (up to 400 a BP). Samples covering the last 400 years do not include European colonists and consist of skeletons exavated at archeological sites, collected by early European travelers and derived from anatomical collections. Cranial capacity, depending on the mode of its calculation, has decreased by 95-165 cm3 among males and by 74-106 cm3 among females between the Late Stone Age (30-2 ka BP) and modern times (last 200 years). Values of the cranial index did not show any trend over time and their averages remained in the dolichocephalic category. The decrease in cranial capacity in Subsaharan Africa is similar to that previously found in Europe, West Asia, and North Africa, but, unlike the latter, it is not accompanied by brachycephalization.


See also: Cranial size and shape.

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