Brief Communication:Age and fractal dimensions of human sagittal and coronal sutures

Authors

  • Niels Lynnerup,

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    1. Laboratory of Biological Anthropology, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
    • Laboratory of Biological Anthropology, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Jens Christian Brings Jacobsen

    1. Laboratory of Biological Anthropology, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
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Abstract

The fractal dimensions of human sagittal and coronal sutures were calculated on 31 complete skulls from the Terry Collection. The aim was to investigate whether the fractal dimension, relying on the whole sutural length, might yield a better description of age-related changes in sutural morphology, as opposed to other methods of quantification, which generally rely on more arbitrary scoring systems. However, the fractal dimension did not yield better age correlations than other previously described methods. At best, the results reflected the general observation that young adults below age 40 years display an age-related development, but that it is impossible to arrive at any precise age determinations for older adults. It seems that for some individuals, suture obliteration simply does not take place, even at an advanced age, whereas for others, suture obliteration progresses rapidly. Until a better understanding of sutural biology is reached, this will render cranial sutures only marginally useful in age determination. This does not mean, however, that investigations should not be made to elucidate more unbiased methods of sutural morphology quantification. Am J Phys Anthropol 9999:000–000, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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