Craniometry of Nigerian skulls: A cadaveric study and review of the literature

  • Adeola A. Olusanya
  • Timothy O. Aladelusi
  • Foluso A. Atiba
  • Juwon T. Arotiba
Keywords: craniometry, cephalometry, cranial index, cephalic index, skull type, cadaver, surgical anatomy, Nigeria


Background: There have been several studies on clinical craniometry, particularly cephalic indices. However, published reports on the anatomical cranial indices of Nigerian anatomical specimens are scarce. This work aimed to add to the body of knowledge on the cranial indices of Nigerian skulls as well as review the literature on both Nigerian cranial and cephalic indices.

Methods: Sixty-eight adult skulls of unidentified gender were assessed, 61 of which had intact craniums and were included in the analysis. The skull specimens were placed in the Frankfurt plane, and standard craniometric measurements were obtained to the nearest millimetre using digital spreading and sliding callipers. The cranial index was calculated from the maximum cranial length and breadth, which was measured using standard anthropometric techniques.

Results: The mean cranial index was 74.1±5.6 mm, and the most common skull type was dolichocephalic. Twenty-three Nigerian articles were identified from the literature search, and only 3 were on anatomical specimens. The mesocephalic skull type was the most commonly documented in both the northern and southern parts of Nigeria, while the least common were the brachycephalic skull type in southern Nigeria and the dolichocephalic skull type in northern Nigeria.

Conclusions: The skull types of Nigerians appear to be more mesocephalic than dolichocephalic, and in regions where dolichocephalic values were obtained, more recent values show a tendency towards brachycephalization.


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