The Configuration of Cervical Spinous Processes in Black and White South African Skeletal Samples


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Riaze Asvat, M.Sc.
Department of Anatomy
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Pretoria
Private Bag X 323
Arcadia 0007
South Africa


Abstract:  The present study investigates the frequency of bifidity/nonbifidity in the black and white South African populations. Four-hundred skeletons of known race, sex, and tribal group were examined. Spinous processes were classified as bifid (bifurcate and cleft subtypes) and nonbifid (obtuse, pediculate, acinate, and clavate subtypes). Statistical analysis using the chi-squared probability test (p < 0.05) was carried out. Bifid spinous processes were present significantly more frequently in the white sample (58.9%) than in the black (31.6%). A bifid spinous process occurred most commonly in C2 (89%) followed by C5 (83%), C4 (79%), C3 (59.4%), and C6 (41.7%) in the white sample. A similar order of decrease in bifidity occurred in the black sample. C2 most commonly displayed the bifurcate subtype of spinous process, while the clavate subtype of nonbifid spinous process was the most common in both populations. The significantly higher frequency of bifidity in the white South African sample when compared to the black sample may suggest a population difference.