Craniocervical morphology and posture in Australian aboriginals



The length of the spinal column as a percentage of stature is smaller in the Australian aboriginal than in most other ethnic groups (Abbie, 1957). It is conceivable that relative lengths of the cervical column might influence population differences in craniocervical posture and craniofacial morphology. The present study aimed to elucidate this relationship by comparing head posture and craniofacial morphology in Australian aboriginals to the same features in a previously studied sample of 120 Danish students (Solow and Tallgren, 1976).

The aboriginal sample consisted of 42 young male adults from the Yuendumu settlement, Northern Territory, Australia. Cephalometric films of the natural head position were taken during a field trip to the settlement. The comparison comprised 18 postural and 61 morphological variables.

In the aboriginals, the cervical column was shorter and had a less pronounced lordosis. The head was held about 3° lower, and the upper cervical column was 81/2° more forward inclined. As a consequence, the craniocervical angle was about 6° larger.

Comparison of the craniofacial morphology in the two groups showed in the aboriginals a shorter upper facial height, a larger anterior lower facial height, and a larger vertical jaw relationship (NL/ML). The length of the posterior cranial base, s-ba, was 4 mm shorter (P <0.001) in the aboriginals, possibly developmentally related to the generally shorter spinal column in Australian aboriginals.