The role of the human nasal cavity in patterns of craniofacial covariation and integration

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Lindal, Joshua
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Climate has a selective influence on nasal cavity morphology. Due to the constraints of cranial integration, naturally selected changes in one structure necessitate changes in others in order to maintain structural and functional cohesion. The relationships between climate and skull/nasal cavity morphology have been explored, but the integrative role of nasal variability within the skull as a whole has not. This thesis presents two hypotheses: 1) patterns of craniofacial integration observed in 2D can be reproduced using 3D geometric morphometric techniques; 2) the nasal cavity exhibits a higher level of covariation with the lateral cranial base than with other parts of the skull, since differences in nasal morphology and basicranial breadth have both been linked to climatic variables. The results support the former hypothesis, but not the latter; covariation observed between the nasal cavity and other cranial modules may suggest that these relationships are characterized by a unique integrative relationship.
Geometric morphometrics, Cranial integration, Human evolution, Climate, Partial least squares, Nasal cavity, Cranial base