3 comments on “Artificial Australians

    • Hi, thanks so much for showing an interest!

      It’s difficult to know whether this caused ay problems for brain development and function during growth and later life as this a historic and prehistoric practice and doesn’t appear to be caried out any more.
      That said, a few research studies have attempted to look into it, studying collections of deformed crania from as far apart as Central America and Bulgaria. It seems that these skulls belonged to people of all ages, with nothing sugggesting that changing the shape of the skull seriously affected brain function.

      Although the skulls had been altered in shape, the overall capacity of the brain case doesn’t change, which is why the skulls end up longer or wider rather than smaller. Very little evidence suggests that deformation caused excessive pressure on the brain. The brain is a remarkable (and soft) organ which is able to change shape with the skull without losing any of its internal connections. This is because the most important connections are in place before birth, with later connections being made in the context of any shape the brain is forced into.
      One study in particular made the case that people with deformed skulls may have had trouble controlling impulses, but this was largely based on studying living people who have suffered brain injuries or have had certain regions removed.

      Here are the titles of the papers I used for this reply, in case you’re interested. A quick Google should bring them up:
      1) Artificial Cranial Deformation: Potential Implications for Affected Brain Function.
      2) Paleoneurosurgical aspects of Proto-Bulgarian artificial skull deformations.
      3) Fronto-ethmoidal encephalozele in a historical skull with artificial deformation and no signs of chronic elevated intracranial pressure.
      4) New World cranial deformation practices: historical implcations for pathophysiology of cognitive impairment in deformational plagiocephaly.

      Hope that’s helped!

      – James.

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