• craniofacial;
  • puberty;
  • development;
  • mathematical modeling;
  • maturation;
  • multilevel model;
  • orthodontics


There is considerable individual variation in the timing, duration, and intensity of growth that occurs in the craniofacial complex during childhood and adolescence. The purpose of this article is to describe the extent of this variation between traits and between individuals within the Fels Longitudinal Study (FLS). Polynomial multilevel models were used to estimate the ages of onset, peak velocity, and cessation of adolescent growth, the time between these ages, the amount of growth between these ages, and peak velocity. This was done at both the group and individual levels for standard cephalometric measurements of the lengths of the mandible, maxilla, and cranial base, the gonial angle, and the saddle angle. Data are from 293 untreated boys and girls age 4–24 years in the FLS. The timing of the adolescent growth spurt was, in general, not significantly different between the mandible and the maxilla, with each having an earlier age of onset, later age of peak velocity, and later age of cessation of growth as compared to the cranial base length. Compared to lengths, angles had in general later ages of onset, peak velocity, and cessation of growth. Accurate characterization of the ontogenetic trajectories of the traits in the craniofacial complex is critical for both clinicians seeking to optimize treatment timing and anatomists interested in examining heterochrony. Anat Rec, 297:1195–1207, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.