A morphometric analysis of variation in the temporal bone and cranium in a normal population

Warren Mitchell

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    219 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] The temporal bone contributes to the walls and floor of the cranium, houses the organs of hearing and balance, and is perforated by numerous foramina and canals for the passage of nerves and blood vessels. The aim of the current study was to analyse morphological variation in the human cranium and particularly the temporal bone in a normal population of Australian adults by morphometric techniques as an aid to a better clinical understanding of their anatomy. As such, many issues were explored but there was no unifying hypothesis. Computed tomography scans of 101 adult human crania were loaded into the Amira medical imaging software to extract three-dimensional coordinates of 130 landmarks on the temporal bone and cranium. These data were subjected to traditional morphometric and geometric morphometric analyses (GMA) to explore patterns of shape variation with respect to differences in cranial size, sex and age. It was found that GMA is a more sensitive discriminator of shape differences than is traditional morphometric analysis. The results indicate that most measurements of the cranium scale with size, but some parts of the middle and inner ear are relatively constant irrespective of cranial size. The GMA also found that large crania tend to be more extensively pneumatised than small crania. Moreover, while the centroid size of temporal bone pneumatisation is not sexually dimorphic, there are subtle sex differences in the posterior and inferior limits of pneumatisation A finding of the age analysis was that the lateral portions of the temporal bone tend to undergo an inferior displacement in the elderly. The GMA found there were some areas where age and sex interact in unusual ways such that sex differences are either reduced or became more marked with age...
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


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