Brief communication: The size of the human frontal sinuses in adults presenting complete persistence of the metopic suture



The notion of absence of the frontal sinuses in human individuals presenting a persistence of the metopic suture is considered as classical in many treatises of reference; however, precise studies are very rare and even controversial. The purpose of this study was thus to provide original data to confirm or refute this classical affirmation with the perspective of some original insights into biological significance of the frontal sinuses and the factors influencing their exceptional polymorphism. The material consisted of 143 dry skulls of adult individuals (European Homo sapiens), distributed in two groups: 80 skulls presenting a complete frontal closure with total disappearance of the metopic suture, and 63 skulls presenting a complete persistence of the metopic suture. Each skull was radiographed in oblique projection using the occipitomental view. A simple morphological quantification of the sinus size was defined with four categories: (1) aplasia, (2) hypoplasia, (3) medium size, (4) hyperplasia. Statistically significant difference in frontal sinusal size was found between both groups of skulls. Absent and small sinuses were considerably more frequent in skulls with persistence of the metopic suture (57.9 vs. 11.9%): small frontal sinuses (hypoplasia) were much more frequent (50.8 vs. 9.4%), although the frequency of absence of frontal sinuses (aplasia) was only slightly higher (7.1 vs. 2.5%). Am J Phys Anthropol 154:621–627, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.