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It’s All in Your Head: Tracing Skull Differences

Researchers found significant differences in skull shape between Portuguese women in communities only 120 miles apart.

In order to accurately identify skulls as male or female, forensic anthropologists need to have a good understanding of how the characteristics of male and female skulls differ between populations. A new study from NC State University shows that these differences can be significant, even between populations that are geographically close to one another.

Dr. Ann Ross, professor of anthropology at NC State, co-authored the paper describing the study. Ross is one of three university faculty members who is receiving NC State University’s Alumni Association 2012 Outstanding Research Award this spring.

The paper’s lead author is one of Ross’s former students, Ashley Humphries, who received her master’s degree at NC State and is now in the Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Justice.

The paper, “Craniofacial Sexual Dimorphism in Two Portuguese Skeletal Samples,” is forthcoming in the journal Anthropologie.

Read the study abstract on the NC State News Services site.