Skull form and differential mortality by tuberculosis

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The study of patients deceased of pulmonary tuberculosis as compared to all the other ones, shows that men (and not women) have a longer head and face, a narrower face; they probably had a greater stature. The patients deceased of plague and smallpox show the same characteristics. As they were younger, and unmarried for a higher percentage, they took a smaller part in the building of the next generation. Therefore this is a case of selection through differential mortality. The smaller viability of dolichocephals during the great epidemics and endemics explains secular brachycephalisation; the present stopping of this selective pressure makes itself clear through debrachycephalisation and a higher stature concomitant with a more developed hygiene and a lesser mortality through tuberculosis. It is probable that other factors play a part, some of them in a direction contrary to the one brought to light here. © 1975.




Olivier, G., & de Castro e Almeida, M. E. (1975). Skull form and differential mortality by tuberculosis. Journal of Human Evolution, 4(6), 491–495.

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