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the branch of science concerned with the shape and size of the human skull, esp with reference to variations between different races
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a branch of anatomy concerned with the structure of the skull of man and animals.

Measurement parameters (craniometry) and descriptive features (cranioscopy) are used to characterize the structure of the skull. Individual structural characteristics are determined with special instruments that permit the skull to be drawn in different planes and projections (craniography). Craniological studies are widely used in anthropology. The patterns of variations in and relationships between such things as the structural characteristics of the skull, age-related changes, and sexual differences are studied in human morphology to solve general theoretical problems and to meet the needs of applied anthropology. In the study of anthropogenesis, craniological data are used to characterize the stages in the physical evolution of man and monkeys, thus helping to distinguish the features peculiar to the successive stages in the formation of the skull. In studies of race, conclusions are drawn from studies of skull material concerning the differentiation of racial types. A comparison of the craniological series of the same or different eras associated with a certain territory reveals the similarity or difference between the ancient populations of the territories under study. M. M. Gerasimov's efforts to reconstruct the face of ancient and modern peoples from the skull are widely known.


Debets, G. F. “Paleoantropologiia SSSR.” In the collection Tr. Instituta etnografii AN SSSR, Novaia seriia, vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Bunak, V. V. “Cherep cheloveka i stadii ego formirovaniia u iskopaemykh liudei i sovremennykh ras.” Ibid., vol. 49. Moscow, 1959.
Gerasimov, M. M. “Vosstanovlenie litsa po cherepu.” Ibid., vol. 28. Moscow, 1955.
Alekseev, V. P., and G. F. Debets. Kraniometriia. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Georges Pouchet repeated the contention that Egyptians were not black.(83) Quatrefages had argued the stable Egyptian milieu explained why Egyptians looked the same now as on their monuments.(84) Pruner-Bey, who in his craniological studies condemned blacks to intellectual mediocrity, also heralded the achievements of medieval Mali and Ghana according to explorer Heinrich Barth.(85) In 1866-68, debates continued about the nature of civilizability by racial aptitude.
He was aware that ethnological investigations had to take into account the new craniological findings of scholars like the Swede Anders Adolf Retzius; though it is significant that he never pursued this line with enthusiasm.(42)
Craniological analysis of harbor and spotted seals of the North Pacific Region.
The idea that the story is about science run amok, a critique of the godless, mad professional in the sense that later became standard fare, was one such "reading" not exactly intended in the original but quite quickly developed on the stage.(79) The change from the highly articulate monster of Shelley's creation into the mute horror pursued by villagers, the manufactured zombie with a deformed and criminal brain, is another later interpretation, reflecting perhaps the craniological and neurological concerns of mid-nineteenth-century science, as well as the requirements of stage and film sensationalism.
Several studies did not find clear differences in quantitative craniological parameters between sexes of the European badger (e.g.
And quite rightly so, since the "old doctor's" interests in measuring his patients' heads with a "thing like callipers" clearly shows that he follows, a la lettre [to the letter], the notorious craniological theory of Cesare Lombroso--an Italian jurist who considered that criminal tendencies were innate in individuals, and that criminals could be recognized by the shape of their heads (Heart 15).