Craniofacial architectural constraints and their importance for reconstructing the early Homo skull KNM-ER 1470

Timothy G Bromage, James M McMahon, J Francis Thackeray, Ottmar Kullmer, Russell Hogg, Alfred L Rosenberger, Friedemann Schrenk, Donald H Enlow
Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry 2008, 33 (1): 43-54

OBJECTIVE: Our objective is to exploit architectural constraint for the analysis and interpretation of craniofacial form, which we apply here to the reconstruction of the early Homo cranium KNM-ER 1470. We are motivated to perform this study because in the absence of biological criteria our preconceptions are likely to govern our concept of craniofacial form.

STUDY DESIGN: We reassembled the fragmented parts--left and right halves of the calvaria and the face--according to mammalian craniofacial architectural constraints described by Donald H. Enlow and colleagues.

RESULTS: When evaluated on a biological premise, KNM-ER 1470 is found to have a more prognathic midface than commonly appreciated. The relationship between facial prognathism and cranial capacity also provides an estimate downward for this specimen, from 752cc to ca. 700cc.

CONCLUSION: Awareness of our preconceptions is critical to the performance of relatively unbiased research in fields characterized by interpretations of morphology. When perceptual bias is relatively minimized, applied here as an architecturally constrained of KNM-ER 1470 craniofacial skeleton, we are able to provide the scientific community with a more tractable Gestalt perspective of form.

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