A recent study has found out that the heads of white Americans are getting larger, taller and narrower since the 19th century. Will this in anyway affect how are brain functions?
A group of forensic anthropologists at the University of Tennessee who have been digging around graves have found out that the size of Americans heads have changed and changing. Reason remains unknown, after all we just found about it. It will take some time to figure out the reason.
But they do have some culprits in their secret list like, evolution, lifestyle change, etc., yep, the usual suspects.
“The varieties of changes that have swept American life make determining an exact cause an endlessly complicated proposition,” Lee Jantz, coordinator of UT’s Forensic Anthropology Center, said in a university news release.
“It likely results from modified growth patterns because of better nutrition, lower infant and maternal mortality, less physical work and a breakdown of former ethnic barriers to marriage,” Jantz said. “Which of these is paramount we do not know.”
They have so far gone through 1500 skulls from mid-1800s to the mid-1980s and found the average height from the base to the top of the skull in men increased by eight millimeters (0.3 inches), while the skull grew by 200 cubic centimeters, a space equivalent to a tennis ball.
In women, skull height increased by seven millimeters and skull size increased by 180 cubic centimeters.
Overall, skull height has increased 6.8 percent since the late 1800s, compared with a 5.6 increase in body height and a 2 percent increase in femur (thigh bone) length. The researchers also noted that skull height has continued to change while the increase in body height has recently slowed or stopped.
The study also found evidence that Americans are maturing earlier. An opening in a certain bone structure of the skull used to close at about age 20, but is now fusing at age 14 in girls and age 16 in boys.
This could be due to rising rates of childhood obesity, which may affect hormones in ways that alter timing of growth and maturation, the researchers suggested.
Jantz said researchers have documented less dramatic shifts in skull shape in Europe.
Fast food, obese Americans to blame? Tell Us.