Adult craniofacial expansion with aging has recently been documented in a living US white population sample (Israel, '73a, '77). The present study extends these findings to a prehistoric Amerindian skeletal sample from the Indian Knoll, Kentucky site. Sixteen craniofacial dimensions available for 136 adult males were compared in younger (20–34 years) and older (35–50 years) age groups. Of these, six dimensions showed a significant difference between age groups; all significantly different dimensions were larger in the older adult age group. The multivariate (T2) difference between age groups was highly significant. Comparison of results before and after a size standardization indicated that the majority of differences between age groups were associated with an overall size increase, or expansion with aging, and did not represent merely remodeling, or “shape” changes. The pattern of craniofacial change with age appeared generally similar to that observed in the modern US white sample; however, some differences were noted. It is shown that the age trends observed at Indian Knoll are most likely to reflect true craniofacial growth in size among the adult male inhabitants of the site, rather than secular trends or other artifacts of the sampling procedure. The causes for continuing adult craniofacial expansion are unknown, and probably involve a complex interaction of many factors. However, this pattern of change with age among adults does appear to be characteristic of population samples of widely differing genetic and environmental backgrounds.
- Indian Knoll
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