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Keywords:

  • debrachycephalization;
  • height;
  • secular change

Abstract

An investigation of body height and cephalic measurements was performed among five groups of first-year medical students of the University of Rijeka School of Medicine (Rijeka, Croatia). Body height and different cephalic measurements showed normal distribution, both in male and female students. Differences between measured variables were statistically analyzed by ANOVA. No significant difference with regard to year of birth was found in either males or females. The cephalic index showed no statistically significant difference between sexes or with regard to body height, while head breadth and length correlated significantly with birth year and body height, both in males and females. Head breadth decreased within the study period, while head length increased. Results were compared with those of similar studies from the mid-20th century. Student's t-test showed a significant change of cephalic indices and other head measurements, but not of body height, in males. The frequency difference between various head shapes was tested using the chi-square test. A significant increase of dolichocephalic and mesocephalic and a significant decrease of brachycephalic head shape were found in both sexes. These results suggest a continuity of the debrachycephalization process observed in our population at the past midcentury. Am J Phys Anthropol 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.