A Survey of Metopic Suture Persistence in the Published Literature
Keywords:metopic suture, biological anthropology, ancestry estimation
The metopic suture separates the halves of the frontal bone. This suture typically fuses by the second year of life, but in some instances, persists beyond that. This project examines published literature to explore rates of persistence for examining its utility in bio-anthropological contexts, such as forensic anthropology or bioarchaeology, for ancestry estimation and in clinical settings so it is not confused with a fracture.
The metopic suture shows variation in the timing of closure, but when it persists permanently, may assume a variety of shapes. The metopic suture is believed to persist commonly in European and Asian ancestries. A global survey paper by Hanihara and Ishida (2001) served as the impetus to explore published rates on metopism. This project relied on a literature review through academic search engines such as GoogleScholar, OneSearch, and Science Direct to find sources examining metopism.
Results demonstrated that metopism does vary according to population, with persistence rates being as high as 63.2% in certain ancestral groups. Generally, the metopic suture persists most commonly in populations with European and Asian ancestry, as expected, but was also found in rates as high as 7.5% in historic African American samples. These results provided some insight as to how future studies relying on population history could explore the influence of genetics and environment on the prevalence of cranial morphological traits such as the metopic suture, as there is still a great deal unknown about why certain traits are more common in some ancestry groups than others.
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