Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015
Key words: modern Belarusian, population, cephalic index, brachycephalisation, debrachycephalisation.
The population in the territory of Belarus is composed of two common anthropological types: the North-Belarusian (Baltic) type, and the South-Belarusian (Central European) type. Brachycephaly is a characteristic of the Belarusian people, the North-Belarusian anthropological type is less brachycephalic than the South-Belarusian type.
Variability of the cranium in consecutive generations of Belarusians has been largely determined by two contrasting phases of development: the Brachycephalisation phase (with increased values of cephalic index), which has alternated with the debrachycephalisation phase (with decreased values of cephalic index). As a result, when plotted on a graph the dynamics of the cephalic index mean values in consecutive generations of the Belarusian population can be seen to form a wavy line.
An increased value of the cephalic index in one generation is followed be a decreased value in the next generation(s).
This has led to alternations between more or less brachycephalic generations. The dynamics of mean values of the cephalic index in the populations of the northern and southern regions differ in respect of the type of wave curve, reflecting the regional specificity of the two-phased nature of head shape variability, a feature which can be attributed to the anthropological composition of the Belarusian population.
Peculiarities in the variability of the head shape noted in consecutive generations of the modern Belarusian population, indicate the absence of continual debrachycephalisation processes. Observed debrachycephalisation merely seems to reduce the growing value of this index in the process of brachycephalisation, thus contributing to maintaining normal variations in the skull of the Belarusian population.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History, The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus.
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