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Polynesian face and dentition: Functional perspective

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Abstract

Widely dispersed throughout the Pacific, Polynesians are a biologically distinctive people in form and size of both body and head. Large-bodied and well-muscled, their body phenotype is suited to life in a thermolabile oceanic environment. Their craniofacial skeleton is large and robust, with mandibular size and form (the "rocker" mandible) being especially characteristic. In this paper the Polynesian variants of body form, and of facial size (including dentition) and form, are interpreted from a functional perspective.

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... Dimensions corresponding between that study and the current sample of Polynesians were nasion-sella, sella-basion and PNSbasion, and angular measurements of nasion-sella-basion corresponded to some of those used in the present study (Table 3.4). Other studies, such as Huggare (1996) and Kean and Houghton (1990) had no measurements that could be compared to the present study (Huggare and Houghton, 1996;Kean and Houghton, 1990). The results of the t-test conducted between the results of Polynesian males of the present study and Kean and ...
... Dimensions corresponding between that study and the current sample of Polynesians were nasion-sella, sella-basion and PNSbasion, and angular measurements of nasion-sella-basion corresponded to some of those used in the present study (Table 3.4). Other studies, such as Huggare (1996) and Kean and Houghton (1990) had no measurements that could be compared to the present study (Huggare and Houghton, 1996;Kean and Houghton, 1990). The results of the t-test conducted between the results of Polynesian males of the present study and Kean and ...
... The latter finding agrees with others who have reported an association between OSA severity and mandibular retrognathism in non-Polynesian groups. 4,13,14 At the outset we postulated that the characteristic skull form found in early Polynesians, notably the large cranium with a flat, broad cranial base, and greater vertical development of the face 25,27,42 would enlarge the airway and thus give some "protection" against OSA. Indeed, Kean and Houghton 25 have reported that the volume of the bony nasopharynx was 33% larger in prehistoric Polynesian skulls compared to Caucasians, and have argued that the larger airway was necessary to provide for the higher ventilatory demands required by the greater muscle mass found in Polynesians. ...
... The present sample from a contemporary Polynesian population did have several of the characteristic craniofacial features found in prehistoric Polynesians. [25][26][27]42 The craniofacial skeleton was larger overall, the facial skeletal profile was flatter and longer in the mid-face, the mandible was longer, and the anterior cranial base tended to be shorter than that found in the Caucasian sample. However, perhaps more significantly (for reasons to be outlined below), the cranial base angle, the overall vertical height of the facial skeleton, and the dimensions of the nasopharynx were not different to the Caucasian men. ...
Article
This aim of this study was to determine the relative contributions of craniofacial form and anthropometric factors to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in two different racial groups, both markedly obese and with a similar mean respiratory disturbance index (RDI). A cross-sectional study of New Zealand Maori (Polynesian) and European (Caucasian) men with RDI> or =15, using lateral and postero-anterior cephalometric radiography. N/A. N/A. Measurements of facial and cranial width, length and height, airway size, stature, weight, body mass index (BMI), neck circumference, RDI, and age were obtained. The Polynesian men had, on average, a greater neck circumference than the Caucasian men. There were no significant differences in age, weight, BMI or RDI between the two groups. The Polynesian men also had broader craniofacial skeletons, larger and more prognathic mandibles, greater neck extension, and some larger airway dimensions than the Caucasian men. In the Polynesian men, the width of the bony nasal aperture was positively associated with RDI, and mandibular prognathism was negatively associated with RDI. In contrast, in the Caucasian men only neck circumference was positively associated with RDI, while the retropalatal airway was negatively associated with RDI. The results indicate that OSA in these two racially distinct groups is due to different etiological factors. Small reductions in mandibular prognathism and a wider bony nasal aperture were major factors associated with OSA in Polynesians. On the other hand, in the Caucasian group OSA was associated with a larger neck circumference and a reduced retropalatal airway size.
... This is in agreement with most reports of facial growth which conclude that increased forces result in shortened faces (Schendel et al., 1980) and deep bites (Sassouni, 1969). Further, as reported in an earlier study (Vecchione et al., 2007), the overall shape of the 180 day old myostatin-deficient mouse mandible, compared to the wildtype control mandible, resembles a unique human jaw morphology described previously in Polynesian populations (Houghton, 1978; Schendel et al., 1980; Kean and Houghton, 1990). The effect of hypermuscularity is thought to have resulted in a characteristic mandibular shape described as a " rocker mandible " (Marshall and Snow, 1956). ...
Article
It is well recognized that masticatory muscle function helps determine morphology, although the extent of function on final form is still debated. GDF-8 (myostatin), a transcription factor is a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. A recent study has shown that mice homozygous for the myostatin mutation had increased muscle mass and craniofacial dysmorphology in adulthood. However, it is unclear whether such dysmorphology is present at birth. This study examines the onset and relationship between hypermuscularity and craniofacial morphology in neonatal and adult mice with GDF-8 deficiency. Fifteen (8 wild-type and 7 GDF-8 -/-), 1-day-old and 16 (9 wt and 7 GDF-8 -/-), 180-day-old male CD-1 mice were used. Standardized radiographs were taken of each head, scanned, traced, and cephalometric landmarks identified. Significant mean differences were assessed using a group x age, two-way ANOVA. Myostatin-deficient mice had significantly (P < 0.01) smaller body and masseter muscle weights and craniofacial skeletons at 1 day of age and significantly greater body and masseter muscle weights at 180 days of age compared to controls. Myostatin-deficient mice showed significantly (P < 0.001) longer and "rocker-shaped" mandibles and shorter and wider crania compared to controls at 180 days. Significant correlations were noted between masseter muscle weight and all cephalometric measurements in 180-day-old Myostatin-deficient mice. Results suggest that in this mouse model, there may be both early systemic skeletal growth deficiencies and later compensatory changes from hypermuscularity. These findings reiterate the role that masticatory muscle function plays on the ontogeny of the cranial vault, base, and most notably the mandible.
... This is in agreement with most reports of facial growth which conclude that increased forces result in shortened faces (Schendel et al., 1980) and deep bites (Sassouni, 1969). Further, as reported in an earlier study (Vecchione et al., 2007), the overall shape of the 180 day old myostatin-deficient mouse mandible, compared to the wildtype control mandible, resembles a unique human jaw morphology described previously in Polynesian populations (Houghton, 1978;Schendel et al., 1980;Kean and Houghton, 1990). The effect of hypermuscularity is thought to have resulted in a characteristic mandibular shape described as a "rocker mandible" (Marshall and Snow, 1956). ...
Article
It is well recognized that masticatory muscle function helps determine morphology, although the extent of function on final form is still debated. GDF-8 (myostatin), a transcription factor is a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. A recent study has shown that mice homozygous for the myostatin mutation had increased muscle mass and craniofacial dysmorphology in adulthood. However, it is unclear whether such dysmorphology is present at birth. This study examines the onset and relationship between hypermuscularity and craniofacial morphology in neonatal and adult mice with GDF-8 deficiency. Fifteen (8 wild-type and 7 GDF-8 −/−), 1 day old and 16 (9 wt and 7 GDF-8 −/−), 180 day old male CD-1 mice were used. Standardized radiographs were taken of each head, scanned, traced, and cephalometric landmarks identified. Significant mean differences were assessed using a group × age, two-way ANOVA. Myostatin-deficient mice had significantly (p<0.01) smaller body and masseter muscle weights and craniofacial skeletons at 1 day of age and significantly greater body and masseter muscle weights at 180 days of age compared to controls. Myostatin-deficient mice showed significantly (p<0.001) longer and “rocker-shaped” mandibles and shorter and wider crania compared to controls at 180 days. Significant correlations were noted between masseter muscle weight and all cephalometric measurements in 180 day old Myostatin-deficient mice. Results suggest in this mouse model, there may be both early systemic skeletal growth deficiencies and later compensatory changes from hypermuscularity. These findings reiterate the role that masticatory muscle function plays on the ontogeny of the cranial vault, base, and most notably the mandible.
... Nous avons donc examine´une population Maori caracte´rise´e par la robustesse de l'appareil masticatoire correspondant a`celle de « la Dame du Cavillon ». La forme distinctive repre´sente l'adaptation extreˆme des composants de la mandibule, branches et corps a`bras de travail raccourci impliquant un grand de´veloppement des muscles, alors que les dimensions dentaires sont plutoˆt re´duites (Kean M.R. et Houghton P., 1990). L'e´tat dentaire des Maoris est e´galement voisin de celui de « la Dame du Cavillon », c'est-a`-dire : une usure occlusale excessive, une exposition de cavite´s pulpaires et une pathologie alve´olaire. ...
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L'étude du squelette de la "Dame du Cavillon", de type Cro-Magnon, qui appartenait à la culture du Gravettien, a mis en évidence des similitudes avec les sujets des grottes des Balzi-Rossi à Grimaldi (Italie) près de Menton, de la grotte des Arene Candide à Finale Ligure (Le Jeune Prince) et des Maoris de Nouvelle-Zélande. Le résultat le plus surprenant de cette étude concernant l’alimentation est une rupture entre le Moustérien et le Gravettien puisque le menu devient non seulement dépendant de la chasse et de la cueillette, mais aussi de la récolte au bord de mer (pêche et fruits de mer), pour ces hommes anatomiquement modernes. The analysis of the skeleton of the "Dame du Cavillon" Cro-Magnon type, belonging to the Gravettian culture, highlighted similarities to other prehistorics of the Balzi-Rossi caves in Grimaldi (Italy) near Menton, the Young Prince from the cave of Arene Candide in Finale Ligure and the Maori of New Zealand. The most surprising result about the menu is that anatomically modern humans, living in the Balzi Rossi beachfront, are not only dependent on hunting and gathering, but also harvest seafood. USURE DENTAIRE ET MODE MASTICATOIRE DE LA DAME DU CAVILLON -Variabilité de la nourriture des hommes modernes lors du dernier maximum glaciaire. 2016. Beatriz PINILLA, John DENNISON, Alejandro PEREZ-PEREZ, Bernard PUECH et Pierre-François PUECH et la collaboration de Noël GARRIGUE. In “ La grotte du Cavillon sous la falaise des Baousse Rousse Grimaldi, Vintimille, Italie; Etude anatomique du squelette de « la Dame du Cavillon »” Ed. Henry de LUMLEY: CNRS éditions, Paris, 1133 pages ISBN : 978-2-271-09195-6. Chapitre 60 :949-967.
... The 'rocker jaw' condition refers to the mandible's propensity to rock back and forth like an old rocking chair when placed on a level surface, a condition that arises as a result of a unique facial growth pattern observed in Polynesians that produces a relatively wide angle between the body and ramus of the mandible (Houghton, 1977;Schendel et al., 1980;Kean and Houghton, 1990). This condition, while common in Polynesians and Pacific Islanders, is rarely observed in Europeans. ...
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Don Francisco de Paula Marin was born in Jerez, Spain, November 28, 1774. After deserting the Spanish Navy in Nootka in the American Northwest, Marin, known to Hawaiians as Manini, found his way to Hawaii in 1793 or 1794. Soon after his arrival in Hawaii, he became interpreter, friend, and advisor to King Kamehameha I, who was in the process of consolidating all the Hawaiian Islands under his leadership. In addition to his ties to Hawaiian royalty, Marin was known as a keen horticulturalist, distiller, and entrepreneur making him probably one of the most influential European residents in the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1800s. In ca. 1810, Marin built his house and other structures on land granted to him by Kamehameha in downtown Honolulu. Nearly 200 years later in 1994, a 28 story high-rise building and a six-story parking structure were constructed on the Marin property. Archaeological survey and excavation in 1992 identified 15 historic coffin burials from the Marin Tower property. In addition to the poorly preserved and incomplete skeletons of five adults (three males, two females) and a child identified from what was believed to be the Marin family plot (Block I), other better-preserved skeletons of five adults and four subadults (including two fetuses) were also located in a separate area (Block II) within the property. Using historical, archaeological, and forensic/osteological documentation, several tentative identifications were made. While none of the burials from the project areas can be unequivocally assigned to any of the Marin family, possible choices can be narrowed in a few cases. One male burial was found to most closely match Don Francisco Marin. Other burials identified in the Marin property may represent two of Marin's four wives (all of Hawaiian ancestry) and any of his eight children who were likely to have been buried on property. Several of the burials from the Marin property very likely represent individuals of Hawaiian ancestry, exhibiting osteological and dental features consistent with other postcontact skeletons from Hawaii.
... Māori, for example, have relatively larger upper facial heights compared with most other native population groups. 4 It is possible that these unique facial features may be due to ethnicity-specific environmental and genetic factors. Few studies have investigated the facial features of present-day New Zealand Māori, and compared them with those of other ethnic groups living in the same region. ...
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Māori patients are often inappropriately treated using Caucasian norms, despite obvious differences in facial morphology. There is currently very little data concerning the nature and/or magnitude of these differences in facial features. The objective of the present study was therefore to evaluate the facial features of Māori and New Zealand (NZ) Europeans. Two convenience samples of 30 Māori and 30 NZ Europeans, evenly matched for age and gender, were recruited from amongst students of the University of Otago, New Zealand. Using a 3D white-light scanner, 12 facial scans were taken of each participant, which were then merged to form a single 3D image of the face. Prior to scanning, round markers were fixed to the skin in order to facilitate the localisation of facial anthropometric points and from which vertical, sagittal, and transverse measurements were assessed from the 3D facial image. Univariate and multivariate analyses of variance were used to test for differences between the two groups before and after adjusting for body mass index (BMI). Significant differences were found in vertical, sagittal, and transverse facial dimensions, before and after adjusting for BMI. The overall face of Māori was significantly larger than that of NZ Europeans, although the facial proportions were generally similar. However, Māori had a broader face, more anterior position of the chin and reduced facial convexity in comparison with NZ Europeans (p < 0.01). Māori have markedly different sagittal facial features compared with NZ Europeans. These distinctive features may reflect important differences in environmental and genetic influences between the two populations. The findings from the present study may assist the clinician in the treatment planning and assessment of facial dysmorphology in these ethnic groups.
... Rocker jaw is the only nondental (i.e., cranial) attribute. Although a hallmark of Polynesians, where frequencies approach 95% for some groups (Houghton, 1976;Pietrusewsky, 1984;Kean and Houghton, 1990), convexity of the mandible's horizontal ramus is also found in Europe. This occurrence has not been published, but Turner (personal communication, 2008) reports that the developmental trait occurs in 10-20% of adult Europeans at ASUDAS grades of 1-2 (i.e., near-and full-rocker), and dates to at least the late Pleistocene. ...
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A stress analysis of the primate mandible suggests that vertically deep jaws in the molar region are usually an adaptation to counter increased sagittal bending stress about the balancing-side mandibular corpus during unilateral mastication. This increased bending stress about the balancing side is caused by an increase in the amount of balancing-side muscle force. Furthermore, this increased muscle force will also cause an increase in dorsoventral shear stress along the mandibular symphysis. Since increased symphyseal stress can be countered by symphyseal fusion and as increased bending stress can be countered by a deeper jaw, deep jaws and symphyseal fusion are often part of the same functional pattern. In some primates (e.g., Cercocebus albigena), deep jaws are an adaptation to counter bending in the sagittal plane during powerful incisor biting, rather than during unilateral mastication. The stress analysis of the primate mandible also suggests that jaws which are transversely thick in the molar region are an adaptation to counter increased torsion about the long axis of the working-side mandibular corpus during unilateral mastication. Increased torsion of the mandibular corpus can be caused by an increase in masticatory muscle force, an increase in the transverse component of the postcanine bite force and/or an increase in premolar use during mastication. Patterns of masticatory muscle force were estimated for galagos and macaques, demonstrating that the ratio of working-side muscle force to balancing-side muscle force is approximately 1.5:1 in macaques and 3.5:1 in galagos during unilateral isometric molar biting. These data support the hypothesis that mandibular symphyseal fusion is an adaptative response to maximize unilateral molar bite force by utilizing a greater percentage of balancing-side muscle force.
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The mammalian mandible, and in particular the human mandible, is generally thought to function as a lever during biting. This notion, however, has not gone unchallenged. Various workers have suggested that the mandible does not function as a lever, and they base this proposition on essentially two assertions: (1) the resultant of the forces produced by the masticatory muscles always passes through the bite point; (2) the condylar neck and/or the temporomandibular joint is unsuited to withstand reaction forces during biting. A review of the electromyographic data and of the properties of the tissues of the temporomandibular joint do not support the non-lever hypothesis of mandibular function. In addition, an analysis of the strength of the condylar neck demonstrates that this structure is strong enough to withstand the expected reaction force during lever action. Ordinarily the human mandible and the forces that act upon it are analyzed solely in the lateral projection. Moments are then usually analyzed about the mandibular condyle; however, some workers have advocated taking moments about other points, e.g., the instantaneous center of rotation. Obviously it makes no difference as to what point is chosen since the moments about any point during equilibrium conditions are equal to zero. It is also useful to analyze the forces acting on the mandible in the frontal projection, particularly during unilateral biting. The electromyographic data suggest that during powerful unilateral molar biting the resultant adductor muscle force is passing between the bite point and the balancing (non-biting side) condyle. Therefore, in order for this system to be in equilibrium there must be a reaction force acting on the balancing condyle. This suggests that reaction forces are larger on the balancing side than on the working side, and possibly explains why individuals with a painful temporomandibular joint usually prefer to bite on the side of the diseased joint.
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