Dolichocephalic - Encyclopedia

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DOLICHOCEPHALIC (long-headed), a term invented by Andreas Retzius to denote (as opposed to "brachycephalic") those skulls the diameter of which from side to side, or the transverse diameter, is small in comparison with the longitudinal diameter or that from front to back. Retzius, though inventing the term, did not define it precisely. Paul Broca applied it to skulls having a cephalic index of seventy-five and under, and this limit is generally adopted. Dolichocephaly, according to Retzius, was the distinctive cranial feature of the earliest inhabitants of Europe. To-day it is characteristic of the negro races, of the Papuans, the Polynesians and the Australians, though among the negritos and some of the pigmy races of Africa brachycephalic skulls are the rule. Of the yellow races the Eskimo is the most dolichocephalic. Of white races the Arabs and Kabyles of Algeria, and the Guanchos of the Canary Islands, are most notable for dolichocephalic tendency. Dolichocephaly is sometimes frontal, as among adult whites, sometimes occipital or confined to the back of the head, as among inferior negro-races, Australians, Papuans and newly-born whites.

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