Scientists have found that female skulls have become more like male skulls over time. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Gonzo Charles/Flickr)

Setting aside the kind of androgyny one finds on the catwalks of high fashion, scientists have found that men and women have become more similar in appearance over the centuries, reports Daily Tech. Researchers from North Carolina State University studied the skulls of Spanish and Portuguese men and women from the 16th century to the 20th century. Over time, the facial structures of men and women have become less distinct.

Women are becoming as men, thanks to better nutrition

Study leader and anthropologist Dr. Ann Ross and her colleagues examined more than 200 skulls from 16th to 20th century Spain as well as 50 skulls from 20th century Portugal. Craniofacial distinctions were found to be much less common among more modern specimens. In general, modern Spanish women have larger facial structures than those of past centuries, making them much more similar to male facial features. The scope of craniofacial differences were quite similar between the Spanish and Portuguese samples.

According to Ross, improved nutrition is likely a major reason for the larger craniofacial features in modern women.
The North Carolina State University study, “Implications of dimorphism, population variation and secular change in estimating population affinity in the Iberian Peninsula,” will publish in an upcoming volume of the journal Forensic Science International.

Findings will aid in academic and criminal investigations

Ross speculated to Science Daily that the skull discovery will aid both academic and criminal investigations.

“Improving our understanding of the craniofacial features of regional groups can help us learn more from skeletal remains or even help us identify an individual based on his or her remains,” she said. “(Moreover), this has applications for characterizing older remains. Applying 20th century standards to historical remains could be misleading, since sex differences can change over time – as we showed in this study.”


Daily Tech:
Forensic Science International:
Science Daily:

Just like mom and dad

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