International Journal of Anthropology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 47–54 | Cite as

The frontal sinus in ancient and modern Greenlandic Inuit

  • N. Lynnerup
  • P. Homøe
  • L. T. Skovgaard


The purpose of this study was to compare the frontal sinus size of ancient Greenlandic Inuit with ancient Inuit of Alaska and Canada, and to compare sinus size between ancient and modern Greenlandic Inuit. Also, it was analyzed whether cranial size was a determinant of frontal sinus size.

Frontal sinus size was evaluated in terms of absence frequency and planimetrically. Absence was defined as a frontal sinus not exceeding a line drawn between the supraorbital rims.

A significant increase in absence frequency was noted from Alaska over Canada to Greenland (males: p<0.03; females p<0.0001). This is in accordance with earlier studies, indicating that although these Inuit populations once have been commonly related to the Old Bering Sea population, the Greenland Inuit represent an endpoint in an eastward migration. There was a significant increase (p<0.0001) in frontal sinus size from ancient to modern Greenlandic Inuit, probably indicative of a high degree of admixture with non-Inuit after modern colonization. The results regarding craniofacial size parameters and frontal sinus side were inconclusive. No single craniofacial variable showed significant effect on frontal sinus size, but the area displayed sexual dimorphism, females having smaller frontal sinuses.


Craniofacial morphology Human migration Eskimo Pneumatization Paranasal sinus 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Lynnerup
    • 1
  • P. Homøe
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. T. Skovgaard
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biological Anthropology, Institute of Anatomy B, Panum InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery RigshospitaletUniversity of CopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics, Panum InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenDenmark

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