"Improving our understanding of the craniofacial features of regional groups can help us learn more from skeletal remains, or even help us identify an individual based on his or her remains," says Dr. Ann Ross, an associate professor of anthropology at NC State and principal investigator of the study. The researchers looked at more than 200 skulls dating to 20th and 16th century Spain, as well as approximately 50 skulls from 20th century Portugal.
Researchers found that craniofacial differences between contemporary men and women are less pronounced than they were in the 16th century. The researchers also found that, while craniofacial features for both sexes in Spain have changed over time, the changes have been particularly significant in females. For example, the facial structure of modern Spanish females is much larger than the structure of 16th century females. This difference may stem from improved nutrition or other environmental factors.
Forensic Science International
Volume 206, Issues 1-3, 20 March 2011, Pages 214.e1-214.e5
Implications of dimorphism, population variation, and secular change in estimating population affinity in the Iberian Peninsula
A. H. Ross
Morphometric cranial variation among Spanish samples was compared to a 19th century Portuguese sample using both traditional and three-dimensional approaches. The Spanish samples included the regional 19th century Oloriz collection and the local 16–17th century Villanubla and Vallolid sample from northwestern Spain. Results suggest moderate variation among the samples and suggest that varying patterns of regional variation, sexual dimorphism and secular change represent important factors to be considered in the evaluation of population affinity using craniometric approaches.