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Cranial contours in the Australian aboriginal.

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Cranial Contours in the Australian Aboriginal
L. J. RAY
Department of Anatomy and Histology,
University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
The work of Benington ('11) and its the left orbitale were in the same horizonlater amplification by Tildesley ('21) pro- tal plane. It was also necessary to ensure
vided a technique for the measurement of that the two poria were in the same coronal
cranial contours. This technique was used plane. The position of the skull having
by Wagner ('37) in his study of the Oce- been fixed and checked the tracings were
anic Races and (with some modifications), made by the aid of a scriber. On compleby Wunderly ('43) in his study of the tion of the tracings the position of the skull
Keilor Skull. The present work records was rechecked to ensure that no shift in
measurements made on both male and position had occurred.
Vertical or transverse contour. With
female aboriginal skulls collected from a
relatively localized area in the south east the face downwards, the point of the
scriber was brought up to the left porion.
of Australia.
Contour tracings, and the measure- The pencil was then allowed to touch the
ments which can be obtained from them, paper and make its tracing while the
permit not only an accurate portrayal of pointer was moved around the skull until
the size and shape of the skull in different it reached the right porion. In this way a
planes, but also an assessment of any tracing was obtained through the skull in
the plane of the poria at right angles to the
asymmetry which may be present.
Frankfurt plane.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Horizontal contour. The kubus was
The material used was from the Murray placed on the tracing table with the base
Black Collection in the University of Mel- of the skull upwards and the horizontal
bourne (Sunderland and Ray, '59) and contour taken through the glabella and
contour tracings were made on 101 male parallel to the Frankfurt plane. As painted
and 101 female skulls. The only selection out by Buxton and Morant ( ' 3 3 ) the
of the material other than numerical was glabella is not a point capable of precise
on the basis of the physical condition of definition but is often an area. In order
the skull, those damaged or unduly deli- to reduce error to a minimum the most
cate being rejected. Sex was determined anterior point between the supraciliary
eminences was taken but if this were presby reference to the pelvis.
Tracings were made in three planes, ent as an area the mid-vertical point of
vertical or transverse, horizontal and this area was taken a s the glabella.
Sagittal contour. It is in obtaining this
sagittal, each mutually at right angles and
with the skull fixed in the Frankfurt plane. contour that considerable variations in the
Considerable care was necessary in fixing techniques of different workers are found.
the skull in its position in the kubus and Benington stated that the skull was "adonce fixed it was not shifted until all the justed so that the nasion, the bregma and
the lambda lie in the same horizontal
tracings were completed.
In order to fix the skull in the Frankfurt plane." That this is not always possible is
plane, the three basic points of reference shown by Tildesley's admission that once
were marked using the criteria advocated the plane was fixed it was not always folby Buxton and Morant ( ' 3 3 ) . The clamp lowed. In fact she altered the position of
was then attached to the occiput and with the pointer so that it passed through the
the kubus resting on a flat surface, the points of reference whether these were in
skull was adjusted until the two poria and the sagittal plane or not.
3 13
314
L. J. RAY
This method was also followed by Wagner but not by Wunderly who maintained
the skull in the Frankfurt plane and obtained the sagittal contour at right angles
to that. In the present study the midporial point was marked on the vault of the
skull and the kubus then placed so that the
skull lay with its right side down. With the
pointer set to the height of the interporial
point, the sagittal contour was then obtained.
It is felt that this method of tracing the
sagittal contour is better than that advocated by Tildesley, in that all three planes
Fig. 1 Measurements taken on the vertical contour.
Fig. 2 Measurements taken on the horizontal contour.
AUSTRALIAN CRANIAL CONTOURS
Fig. 3
315
Measurements taken on the sagittal contour.
group are consistently lower than those in
this series, which lies in an intermediate
position between Wagner's South AusRESULTS
tralian and Total Australian groups.
Keilor. In the vertical contours, the
The tracings for the three contours were
Keilor
Skull (Wunderly, '43) exceeds the
treated in accordance with the methods
laid down by previous workers and the mean of the present measurements in all
measurements taken are indicated in fig- but one (AY4) and is close to or exceeds
the maximum in 7 out of 13 measureures 1, 2 and 3.
ments.
In the horizontal contour Keilor
It is important to remember that in the
vertical contour, the line MA will not neces- again exceeds the mean in all but one
sarily cut the vault at the apex. In the measurement (10) but exceeds the maxihorizontal contour the line FO was drawn mum in only two measurements. In the
along the mid-porial plane and was not sagittal contour Keilor exceeds the mean
obtained by reference to any other bony in all but three measurements ( 0 , MY4,
GY4 ) but does not exceed the maximum in
landmarks.
any. It must be remembered, however,
DISCUSSION
that the maximum quoted for each measIn the vertical contours there is remark- urement is not found in any one skull and
able similarity to the results found by although there are several skulls of about
Wagner in his group from South Australia, the same size as Keilor, none exceeds it
there being a difference exceeding one mil- in all measurements. Keilor must be conlimeter in only two measurements. This firmed as a large skull although its measwas also apparent in the horizontal con- urements are not consistently beyond the
tours, in less than half the measurements range of variation for the males in this
there being a difference in excess of one collection.
Sex differences. In the vertical conmillimeter but in no case did this exceed
two millimeters. In the sagittal contour tours the mean for the female was less
Wagner's figures for the South Australian than that for the male but the range in all
are obtained with reference to the Frankfurt plane and mutually at right angles.
8
9
10
7
2
3
4
5
6
FW
FV2
A?h
10
9
1
MY4
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
~~
~
S.D.
2.1
2.3
2.6
2.7
2.6
2.6
2.8
3.0
3.2
2.9
2.9
2.7
Male
51-63
5566
53-68
57-68
58-69
57-69
57-68
54-69
50-62
40-53
25-37
11-23
Range
24.8
37.5
48.6
46.9
51.5
58.8
64.0
65.6
63.0
56.5
43.9
S.D.
4.5
4.6
3.4
2.5
2.3
2.8
2.6
2.6
2.6
2.5
2.6
17-39
2947
41-57
42-54
46-57
46-64
57-68
56-70
57-70
49-64
37-52
Range
F.O. 171-200:185:5.9
Mean
13-36
2248
41-58
41-53
47-57
52-65
59-69
59-71
57-69
51-63
37-52
MaIe
M.A. 101-118:110.8:3.8
Right
~
57.1
59.4
59.6
61.8
63.7
63.6
62.3
60.0
55.4
46.4
31.3
15.7
Mean
_Range
__
51-63
55-65
53-66
56-68
58-69
58-69
56-68
52-66
44-62
39-55
21-40
9-23
Range
Right
-
S.D.
2.1
2.2
2.7
2.4
2.4
2.4
2.4
2.7
2.7
2.7
2.6
2.6
25.0
38.1
49.0
47.0
51.6
57.9
62.3
63.9
62.0
56.5
44.1
Mean
Left
4.7
4.2
3.1
2.6
2.6
2.9
2.4
2.5
2.4
2.6
2.4
S.D.
TABLE a
Horizontal contours
57.1
59.7
59.9
61.9
63.5
63.3
62.4
60.4
55.5
46.0
31.3
16.8
Mean
Left
TABLE 1
vertical COlZtOUTB
3649
45-60
18-34
25-47
40-60
40-53
43-57
49-65
54-67
53-69
5-6
Range
47-60
50-63
48-63
49-67
51-68
51-69
50-66
50-66
46-61
33-52
21-38
7-24
Range
24.9
36.9
46.9
46.0
49.6
56.6
60.4
63.0
60.2
53.3
41.3
Mean
Right
54.0
56.2
56.9
59.1
61.0
60.8
59.3
57.0
53.1
44.7
30.2
14.6
Mean
Right
47-60
51-63
53-62
55-65
56-69
56-69
54-69
53-67
4944
39-56
23-40
11-25
Range
16-37
2347
41-57
42-52
45-55
51-63
52-70
57-69
55-68
49-62
37-5 1
Range
~
165-1189:177:5.2
4.0
3.7
3.0
2.5
2.8
3.0
2.7
2.7
2.5
2.7
2.5
S.D.
Female
99-116:105.8:3.6
2.3
2.4
2.6
2.8
3.1
2.9
2.8
2.8
2.9
3.1
3.1
2.9
S.D.
Female
Left
25.7
36.9
46.9
46.5
50.3
56.0
61.6
61.8
59.6
53.4
41.7
Mean
Left
45.1
31.3
17.0
54.0
54.0
56.7
57.4
59.8
61.6
61.4
60.1
58.1
Mean
4.3
4.0
2.9
2.1
2.2
2.7
2.8
2.6
2.6
2.6
2.6
I.D.
~
2.3
2.4
2.2
2.6
2.6
2.6
2.6
2.6
2.8
2.8
2.7
2.4
6.D.
r
P*
r
317
AUSTRALIAN CRANIAL CONTOURS
In the sagittal contour one measurement
cases showed a considerable overlap. In
the horizontal Contours the mean for the in the female exceeded that for the m&
female exceeded that for the male in one
measurement (FY4) but in all others the (0) but in the remainder the male was
male was greater. There is again a con- the greater. The overlap in the range of
siderable overlap in the range of variation. variation was considerable.
TABLE 3
Sagittal contours
Male
Range
N-G
0
167-199
1545
23-54
45-70
59-82
67-91
68-96
68-9 7
71-95
64-90
52-41
29-68
12-47
NY4
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
GY4
Female
Mean
S.D.
Range
Mean
S.D.
182.6
27.7
38.7
57.8
70.2
77.8
81.9
83.2
81.9
77.3
67.9
48.3
23.2
5.7
6.6
6.3
4.6
4.4
4.8
4.7
4.7
4.4
4.6
5.2
5.9
5.9
165-188
15-43
2652
46-72
60-81
67-85
70-90
70-92
70-92
65-86
52-76
33-56
9-44
176.0
27.8
38.9
56.2
67.6
74.2
78.0
79.3
78.4
74.2
64.5
44.7
21.2
4.6
6.2
5.8
4.3
4.0
3.8
3.9
4.0
4.0
4.1
4.4
4.9
6.1
TABLE 4
Vertical contours
Male
Left
greater
MY4
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
AY4
37
40
35
35
36
42
45
37
32
50
55
43
32
25
24
15
18
17
16
17
17
14
Female
Right
greater
Left
greater
21
29
41
42
50
41
39
48
52
34
32
48
39
46
50
49
50
54
52
47
57
74
Equal
38
38
28
23
21
20
18
17
13
10
4
Right
greater
15
24
27
28
31
31
30
32
41
34
23
TABLE 5
Horizontal contours
Male
Left
greater
FY4
FY2
2
3
4
46
51
40
43
40
5
6
28
7
8
9
10
13
16
23
41
50
Female
Equal
Right
greater
Left
greater
Equal
Right
greater
10
15
5
11
13
10
16
12
13
17
13
45
35
56
47
48
63
72
73
64
42
38
53
48
50
55
58
32
22
24
32
41
49
7
12
8
14
14
20
14
12
15
16
17
41
41
42
32
29
49
65
65
54
44
35
318
L. J. RAY
It is interesting that both the measurements in which the mean for the female
was the greater were the most anterior
measurements taken.
Asymmetry. If each skull is perfectly
symmetrical with reference to the poria the
right and left sides for each measurement
will always be equal. It would, however,
40
30
O
be surprising if such were the case and
tables 4 and 5 show the results.
These tables show the number of cases
for each measurement in which there was
a difference, but not the degree of such
difference. The frequency distribution of
such difference is shown in figures 4 and
5 where those showing a greater measure-
1
l~
c"
n
I
1A
O
0
0
0
0
0
M Y4
2
3
4
5
6
40
Fig. 4
Frequency distribution of the lateral differences in the vertical contour.
319
AUSTRALIAN CRANIAL CONTOURS
eo
JL
h
::A JL
0
0
0
6
7
0
5
Fig. 5
0
6
B
A
10
8
7
0
0
8
b
Frequency distribution of the lateral differences in the horizontal contour.
ment on the left side are to the left of zero
and those with a greater measurement on
the right side to the right of zero.
SUMMARY
1. Contour tracings in the vertical, hori-
zontal and saeittal Dlanes were made on
101 male a n d 1 0 1 female Australian Aboriginal skulls.
2. Measurements were made on these
tracings in accordance with the principles
outlined by previous workers.
3. Comparisons have been instituted
with Wagner’s work on Australian skulls
and also with Wunderly’s results on the
Keilor skull.
4. An indication of the asymmetry of
has been given,
the
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to express mY thanks to
Professor Sunderland for his encouragement during this study and also to Mr.
320
L. J. RAY
A. C. Bakker for his assistance with the
calculations.
LITERATURE CITED
Benington$ R. c* 1911 Cranial type contours.
Biometrika, 8: 123-201.
Buxton, L. H. D., and G. M. Morant 1933 The
essential craniological technique. Roy. Anthrop.
Inst. Great Brit. and Ireland, 62: 1947.
Sunderland, S., and L. J. Ray 1959 A note O n
the Murray Black Collection of Australian
aboriginal skeletons. Proc. Roy. SOC. Victoria,
71: 45-48.
Tildesley, M. L. 1921 A first study of the
Burmese skull. Biometrika, 13: 176-262.
Wagner, K. 1937 The craniology of the Oceanic
races. Skrifter Utgitt Av det Norske Videnskaps,
Akademi
Wunderly, J. 1943 The Keilor fossil skull.
Anatomical description. Mem. Nat. Mus., Melbourne, 13: 57-69.
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