Endocranial shape variation: Japan

Morita et al 2016Yusuke Morita, my colleague at Ogihara laboratory (Keio university), published a paper entitled “Three-dimensional endocranial shape variation in the modern Japanese population“. Quantifying variation in human endocranial shape is important for interpreting endocranial morphogenetic mechanisms, and to investigate how ontogenetic changes may have influenced the course of human evolution. We CT scanned 56 modern Japanese crania, and analyzed their variation with landmark-based geometric morphometrics. We computed digital 3D surface models of the endocrania, to sample landmarks and analyze shape variation following Procrustes superimposition and principal component analysis. The brachycephalic/dolichocephalic axis was the most frequent pattern of shape variation. In addition, we found that smaller endocrania tend to be associated with relatively larger cerebellar regions,  flat and depressed parietal regions, and more superior frontal pole. Asymmetric shape variability was also observed. We hope this paper may contribute to future comparative analyses on the endocranial variation in fossil hominids.

Hideki Amano


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