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Bone Modeling Patterns and Morphometric Craniofacial Variation in Individuals From Two Prehistoric Human Populations From Argentina

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Native human populations from South America display high levels of craniofacial variation encompassing gracile and robust skulls. Nevertheless, the processes of bone modeling by which morphological variation among populations were attained, remain poorly understood. Here we analyze the relationship between patterns of bone formation and resorption and morphometric variation in the upper face of adults belonging to farmers and hunter‐gatherers from northwestern and south Argentina. Our analyses reveal a common pattern of bone modeling of the malar bone characterized by the presence of formation areas. Thus, the larger size and greater development of malar bone exhibited by hunter‐gatherers would be linked to a greater magnitude of bone formation activity. Conversely, the glabella and the superciliary arch presented both formation and resorption areas with a variable distribution among individuals. In the extreme corresponding to more robust morphologies, the great development of the glabella is related to the presence of large formation fields, both in the upper region and toward the frontonasal suture. The less robust morphologies show resorption fields at the upper margin of the glabella, which would contribute to the weaker development of this region. The superciliary arch showed a complex relationship between its morphometric and histological variation; the individuals located at both extremes of the shape space presented large resorption areas located on its upper margin. Overall, our results show the existence of intraspecific variation in the patterns of bone modeling in the human upper face. Anat Rec, 297:1829–1838, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Keywords: bone formation and resorption; geometric morphometrics; human face

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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