Skip to comments.Mystery of the medieval skulls still has archaeologists scratching their heads
Posted on 08/29/2007 5:24:41 AM PDT by Renfield
A study into the mysterious changing skull shape of medieval man casts serious doubt on current theories.
The peculiar shift from long narrow heads to those of a rounder shape, and back again, which took place between the 11th and 13th centuries, has been noted at sites throughout western Europe. But a study of skulls found at the deserted village of Wharram Percy, near Malton, North Yorkshire, suggests that the anatomical blip was not down to an influx of Norman immigrants, or climate change, English Heritage has said.
It examined nearly 700 skeletons recovered from the village. Unlike other research, data from the Wharram site traces the change to a single, indigenous community which has been radiocarbon-dated.
Simon Mays, a skeletal biologist, said: Our work has yielded few clues on why skulls changed, but we have cast serious doubt on some of the current theories. Despite the best efforts of science, were still in the dark to explain why it happened.
The findings are presented in the latest volume of the Wharram Percy project, which aims to publish the results of 40 years of archaeological excavations at the Yorkshire Wolds village between 1950 and 1990.
I would like to see a profile view of these two skulls.
MWP == better living conditions == larger brains == bigger skuls...
One gives you a point head, the other a Frankenskull.
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I used to believe this theory until I had my children. All perfectly round heads at birth. Even the one getting his dad's caveman brow line.
Whoops, thanks xcamel for the ping!
Cesarean and Frankenbaby all the way.
My daughter was C-section with a perfectly-shaped head. Of course the section was because she was breech.
What about cultural effects such as strapping the child to a papoose board to transport him/her? That certainly flattens the back of the skull.
Wow, seems as though changes happened really quickly. Just like everything else.
Sounds like the scientists have a lot to study. Climate change leading to a better or changed diet, radiation, Sun spots, etc. Glad that isn’t job.
Kinda makes it clear that all of the work assigning various skulls into different ‘species’ was a huge mistake, doesn’t it?
All based on that little ‘assumption’ that different skull shapes were more signigicant than they really are.
Heterochrony? (For when Mutation is a dirty word.)
LOL, my thoughts exactly!
You give us a link, with "the answer can be found here"?
And here I've been thinking all the while, it was as easy as the difference 'tween how
the barber charges a Norwegian for a haircut? [ 2 dollars a corner]
Compared to a Finn? [ 8 dollars a point]
IIRC; some groups would bind the child’s head so it would better fit the helmet when they were of age.
Wow, new to me, cool word...
Sounds like they found a new species of primate. Possibly a predecessor to modern man. This is proof of common decent./s
But seriously, probably just caused by the hormones in cows milk.
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.
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