• supraorbital foramen;
  • climate influence on human skull;
  • migraine;
  • headache;
  • supraorbital neuralgia


The aim of this study was to provide the morphological and morphometric data of the supraorbital foramina or notches related to sex, side, and the climatic conditions where the population lived. It was hypothesized that the distribution of the occurrence and location of these openings depends on climatic conditions in which the population lived. Orbits from 866 dried skulls obtained from three climatic regions: warm, temperate, and cold were examined. The examination concentrated on the configuration (notch/foramen) and on the distances to the reference points: nasion, frontomalare orbitale, infraorbital foramen and the superior orbital rim. In 14.3% of cases a smooth supraorbital rim was observed while different variants of the structures were observed in 85.7% of the cases. In cold climatic conditions, supraorbital foramina were found in the highest frequency (35.4%). In warm and temperate climates, the observed frequencies of supraorbital foramen were the lowest (18.8% and 19.9%, respectively). Frequency of supraorbital notches was the lowest of those skulls from a cold climate (44.0%) and the highest in those from a warm climate (59.0%). These results support the hypothesis that the occurrence of the supraorbital notches is greater in populations from warm compared with cold regions. This would provide a greater exit route for the neurovascular bundle and this may be related to the thermoregulatory processes in the supraorbital region. Furthermore, knowledge of precise locations of supraorbital structures is important when a supraorbital nerve block is given, for example, in the treatment of migraine headaches. Anat Rec, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.