North Carolina State University researchers
have found that the facial structures of men and women in Spain have become
less distinct over time.
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
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
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
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.
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
or her remains," said Ross.
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
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 was published in Forensic Science International.