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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluation of Craniofacial Superimposition as a Technique for Measuring Mountain Gorilla Facial Soft Tissue Depth and Implications for Hominid Facial Approximation
by Richmond, Marli, M.A., The George Washington University, 2018, 57; 10815979
Abstract (Summary)

Paleoanthropological facial approximation (also known as hominid facial reconstruction) refers to the results and investigations undertaken to determine and represent the life appearance of the earliest humans. Integrating skeletal, biomechanical, behavioral and environmental data, each approximation takes us on a journey through time, embodies decades of research and archaeological discovery, and tells the unique story of a species in anatomic detail. Despite its utility in connecting scientific and public audiences, facial approximation remains hindered by two factors: the first, a lack of methodological standardization and testing within the field, and the second a lack of facial thickness data for non-human primates.

This study presents a novel application of craniofacial superimposition as a noninvasive way to measure facial soft tissue depth in great apes. Three-dimensional skull models and corresponding ante-mortem images of six adult male mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are overlaid in a computer-automated superimposition, and the point-to-point distances between skull surfaces and outer facial envelopes measured. A series of statistical analyses assess variation in measurements due to the type of software and number of images used. Further comparisons are drawn between mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans in facial tissue thickness. Results support craniofacial superimposition as a measurement approach. However further study is needed to determine the technical limits that may occur in practice and improve methods for use in facial approximation and paleoanthropology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McFarlin, Shannon
School: The George Washington University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Biology, Animal sciences
Publication Number: 10815979
ISBN: 978-0-355-95000-7
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