Cranial Base Height as an Indicator of Developmental Stress in Native Mexican and American-Born Mexican Populations




Goots, Alexis

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Cranial base height, much like stature, has been used as an indicator of developmental stress in human populations since J. Lawrence Angel first proposed the idea in 1976. Previous research on the cranial base has involved the study of secular change in historic populations, but it has not often been used to explore differences in developmental stress in modern populations. Current views of Mexican migrants often hold that this population is impoverished, malnourished, and under a high disease load during growth and development. The present research allows for an empirical analysis of this viewpoint by comparing the height of the cranial base in a Mexican-born population (n=137) from the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner and Xoclan and Zimapán documented collections, and an American-born population of Mexican descent (n=16) from the Texas State University Donated Skeletal Collection and the University of New Mexico Documented Skeletal Collection. Landmark data were collected using a Microscribe® G2 3D digitizer and 3Skull software. Data were analyzed with an ANOVA in Excel, using the Real Statistics Add-in. Males and females were analyzed separately in order to control for size differences associated with sex. Cranial base height was not significantly different in females (p=0.1238), but significant in males (p=0.03541). These findings indicate that the levels of developmental stress in American-born Mexicans and native Mexicans are not drastically different for females, but are different for males. This result has broader social implications for understanding the environments from which migrants leave and those to which they migrate.



Cranial Base Height, Developmental Stress, Mexico, Native Mexican, Migrant, Mexican Migrant, Hispanic, Public Policy, Immigration Policy, Anthropology, Forensic Anthropology


Goots, A. (2016). <i>Cranial base height as an indicator of developmental stress in Native Mexican and American-born Mexican populations</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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