Is the complexity of the human sagittal suture related to the size of the temporal muscle?
We have tested the hypothesis that temporal muscle size determines the degree of interdigitation of the human sagittal suture by comparing male and female skulls of Europeans and Australian aborigines. Temporal muscle length, area of the temporal aperture and estimated muscle volume were greater in males than in females of each racial group. Sexual dimorphism of the complexity of the sagittal suture was not confirmed in either race. However, the suture was less complex in aborigines than Europeans despite the volume of the temporal muscle being larger in the former group. We conclude, therefore, that although the morphology of the sagittal suture is an epigenetic character, it is not mechanically influenced by muscle size. A simple quantitation of suture form may however be useful in assigning unknown skulls to a particular race.
Key wordsanthropology gender race sagittal suture temporal muscle
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