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Cranial features in men, women becoming more similar with time  (Source: David Hunt, North Carolina State University)
Skulls of men and women in Spain from the 16th century to the 20th century have become more and more similar over time

North Carolina State University researchers have found that the facial structures of men and women in Spain have become less distinct over time.  

Dr. Ann Ross, study leader and an associate professor of anthropology at North Carolina State University, and a team of researchers, have discovered that the craniofacial features of Spanish and Portuguese men and women have become more and more similar since the 16th century. 

Ross and her colleagues made this discovery by comparing over 200 skulls from 16th to 20th century Spain. They also looked at 50 skulls from 20th century Portugal. By paying particular attention to the craniofacial features, they found that male and female skulls from the 16th century were more distinct than in the 20th century. 

For instance, modern Spanish women have larger facial structures than Spanish women from the 16th century. These larger facial structures are much closer to the size of men's facial structures. According to Ross, improved nutrition may be one of the reasons for the increased size of female craniofacial features.  

Ross and her colleagues looked into the changing features of male and female skulls in order to better understand exactly how they've changed over time, which can help researchers identify the sex of remains based on these features. Also, this knowledge could be helpful to academic research and criminal investigations. 

"Improving our understanding of the craniofacial features of regional groups can help us learn more from skeletal remains, or even help us identify an individual based on his or her remains," said Ross. 

Ross also found that the craniofacial differences between men and women were similar between Portuguese and Spanish populations. This means that the Spanish standards for distinguishing between remains of different sexes could be applied regionally.  

"This has applications for characterizing older remains," said Ross. "Applying 20th century standards to historical remains could be misleading, since sex differences can change over time - as we showed in this study."

This study was published in Forensic Science International.



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RE: This is nothing new and is well understood.
By name99 on 4/6/2011 3:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
Of course we have the issue that the study claims the REVERSE of what I claimed, namely:

quote:
For instance, modern Spanish women have larger facial structures than Spanish women from the 16th century. These larger facial structures are much closer to the size of men's facial structures.


So I have to admit to being somewhat baffled. But the fact that the obvious and well known phenomenon I described is not addresses makes me wonder what is going on here. A discovery that claims to substantially contradict received wisdom should be getting more attention than the fairly minor PR we see here.


By ClownPuncher on 4/6/2011 3:14:16 PM , Rating: 5
Because Spanish women talk non-stop, mimicking chewing.


By Pneumothorax on 4/6/2011 4:55:21 PM , Rating: 1
Who cares, they're HAWT!


By ClownPuncher on 4/6/2011 5:30:26 PM , Rating: 2
Scientifically, I agree.


By snakeInTheGrass on 4/7/2011 12:07:05 AM , Rating: 2
Clown punchers and lizard milkers agree. Sounds like science to me.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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