Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (04): 445-457.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0029

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Morphological variation in the circum-nasal region of modern human

LIU Wu1(), HE Jianing2, YAN Yi1,3, ZHANG Ziliang4, CHEN Yiying1,3, WU Xiujie1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. Center for the Study of Chinese Archaeology, Peking University, Beijing 100871
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    4. Department of Archaeology, University of York, YO10 5DD, York, United Kingdom
  • Received:2022-10-28 Revised:2022-12-20 Online:2023-08-15 Published:2023-08-10


Morphologies of the circum-nasal region in modern human populations exhibit different patterns and are closely related to climate and environment. However, the full scope of morphological variation is unclear, especially given the lack of well-defined standards, including homologous landmarks for morphological data collection and analysis of this region. In this study, 154 crania of Caucasian, African and North Chinese populations were observed and measured. Results revealed pronounced population-specific patterns in morphologies of the circum-nasal region. The African population was characterized by a low and broad piriform aperture with a blunt margin, weak anterior nasal spine, and a pronounced sub-nasal fossa. In contrast, the nasal region of the Caucasian population was characterized by a high and narrow piriform aperture with a sharp margin, a well-developed anterior nasal spine, and a weak or absent sub-nasal fossa. The pattern characterizing the North Chinese population was intermediate between the Caucasian and African populations, but more closely resembled the Caucasian in trait-by-trait expressions.

Previous studies have found that piriform aperture morphology in various modern human populations from the past 10,000 years exhibits chronological changes and inter-population differences. For example, it is noteworthy that Neolithic populations from the middle Yellow River regions exhibit a broad piriform aperture. Due to the lack of comprehensive information during data collection and analysis, many aspects of the morphological pattern and extent of variation in the circum-nasal region from present-day Chinese are still not clear.

Future investigation of the morphological patterns characterizing the circum-nasal region of Holocene populations found in China will provide essential context for understanding the formation and diversification of modern human populations in East Asia.

Key words: Piriform aperture, Alveolar, Nasal cavity, Morphology

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