Quantitative Evaluation of the Facial Morphology of a Tolteca Figurine from Mexico using Geometric Morphometric Approaches

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-95022014000200021
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

John M. Starbuck


Morphometric approaches can be combined with 2D or 3D imaging to quantitatively evaluate craniofacial medical conditions depicted in material culture and to learn more about the culture being studied. A terra-cotta figurine (circa 500 A.D.) from the Tolteca culture of Mexico has previously been qualitatively "diagnosed" with Down syndrome (DS) based on the presence or absence of facial features typically associated with trisomy 21. The purpose of this research is to quantitatively test the hypothesis that the Tolteca figurine exhibits facial features consistent with DS. Landmarks (n = 24) were acquired from sex- and age-matched (5-20 yrs) facial images of DS individuals (n = 32), euploid individuals (n = 32), and the Tolteca figurine. Landmark coordinates were subjected to geometric morphometric analyses, and the results suggest that the Tolteca figurine displays facial morphology consistent with DS.

KEY WORDS: Trisomy 21; Down syndrome; 3dMD; Euclidean distance matrix analysis (EDMA); Principal coordinates analysis.

How to cite this article

STARBUCK, J. M. Quantitative evaluation of the facial morphology of a Tolteca figurine from Mexico using geometric morphometric approaches. Int. J. Morphol., 32(2):499-509, 2014.