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International Journal of Morphology

versión On-line ISSN 0717-9502

Int. J. Morphol. v.25 n.1 Temuco mar. 2007 


Int. J. Morphol., 25(1):99-102, 2007.

Morphological Evaluation of Head in Turkman Males in Gorgan-North of Iran

Evaluación Morfológica de la Cabeza en Hombres Turcos en Gorgan del Norte de Irán


Mohammad Jafar Golalipour; Mehrdad Jahanshahi & Kamran Haidari

Ph. D. Department of Anatomy, Gorgan University of Medical Sciences (Gorgan-IRAN).

Correspondence to:

SUMMARY: Cephalometry or measurement of human head is used in identification, forensic medicine, plastic surgery, orthodontics, archeology and examine the differences between races and ethnicities.

This descriptive investigation was undertaken on 198 young Turkman males to determine the cephalic index and head phenotype among them in Gorgan, North of Iran. In this study cephalic index was determined by classic cephalometric method. Mean and standard deviation of cephalic index was 80.4 + 4. Based on the cephalic index, the head shape of 42.4% of individuals were brachycephalic, 7.6% hyperbrachycephalic, 40.9% mesocephalic and 8.1% dolicocephalic.

This research showed that Turkman individuals have typical brachycephalic phenotype. In comparison to other studies, we can conclude that the ethnic factor has an effective role on head phenotype in North of Iran.

KEY WORDS: Craniofacial forms; Cephalometry; Cephalic index; Male.

RESUMEN: La cefalometría o mediciones de la cabeza humana son usadas en identificación, Medicina Forense, Cirugía Plástica, Ortodoncia, Arqueología y tiene la finalidad de examinar las diferencias entre razas y etnias.

Esta investigación descriptiva fue realizada en 198 hombres jóvenes turcos en Gorgan, Norte de Irán, para determinar el índice cefálico y el fenotipo de la cabeza. El índice cefálico fue determinado por el método de cefalometría clásica. La media y desviación estándar del índice cefálico fue de 80.4 + 4. Basado en el índice cefálico, la forma de la cabeza era braquicefálica en el 42.4%, hiperbraquicefálica en el 7.6%, mesocefálica en el 40.9% y dolicocefálica en el 8,1% de los individuos.

Esta invetigación mostró que los individuos turcos presentan un típico fenotipo braquicefálico. En comparación con otros estudios, podemos concluir que el factor étnico tiene un efectivo rol en el fenotipo cefálico en el Norte de Irán.

PALABRAS CLAVE: Formas craniales; Cefalometría; índex cefálico; Hombre.



The study of the craniofacial relations and variations in man has long been used to different various racial groups in physical anthropology. Morphology features of different races and ethnic groups aren't randomly distributed but appear in geographic clusters (Argyropoulos & Sassouni, 1989).

The method currently availed craniofacial form include anthropometry, photogrametry, cephalometry, ultrasound, computed tomographic (CT) scanning magnetic imaging (MRI) and optical surface scanning (Grant & Peter, 2003).

Arguably, cephalometry continues to be the most versatile technique in the investigation of the craniofacial skeleton because of its validity and practicality (Grant & Peter). The name cephalometry is given to the morphological study of all the structures present in a human head (Grau et al, 2001).

Cephalometry is the scientific measurement of the dimensions of the head, usually through the use of standardized lateral skull radiographs or cephalograms (El-Feghieifl/,,2004).

Comparison of the measurements with the standards for the same age, race, and sex is a valuable tool for diagnosis, treatment monitoring and prediction of orthodensy treatment results (Grau et al).

Also cephalometry is helpful in identification, forensics head and face reconstruction, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and clinical diagnosis and treatment planning (Williams et al, 1995; Will et al, 1995; Sakakibaraei al, 1999).

Conducting anthropometrical studies with the aim of obtaining the characteristics of ethnical groups inhabiting a particular geographical region, not only assist in understanding the frequency distribution of human morphologies but also in providing the basis for a comparition among different races (Heidari et al, 2006; Golalipour et al, 2003, 2005a,b; Golalipour, 2006; Zaidi, 1989; Evereklioglu et al, 2002).

On the basis of above factors, anthropometries studies are conducted on the age, sex and racial/ethnic groups in certain geographical zones (Williams et al.; del Sol, 2005; Shah & Jadhav 2004; Golalipour et al, 2003, 2005a,b; Golalipour & Heydari 2005; Golalipour; Heidari et al).

The most important of cephalometric dimension are length and width of head that with them determine cephalic index.

On basis of cephalic index head shapes group to four international categories, that including dolichocephal, brachycephal, mesocephal andhyperbrachycephal (Williams et al.; del Sol).

Although some investigations carried out to determine the type of head shape in various ages in Iran and other countries (Golalipour et al, 2003; del Sol; Shah & Jadhav; Heidari et al; Golalipour). But by regarding the effect of racial/ethnic and geographical factors on head dimensions and lack of documented research about Turkman males in this area. This study aimed at applying well-know international cephalometric methods to assess and compare craniocephal morphological characteristics of young Turkman men (17-20 years old), in North of Iran.


The current cross-sectional descriptive study was performed on 198 normal young Turkman males (17-20 years old) who resident in Gorgan- North of Iran, during the spring of 2002.

Turkman's population is living in more than two centuries ago in this area, who immigrated from central Asia. Turkman people are only marrying in intra -group because of religious and ethnic beliefs.

Using the classical cephalometry (Williams et al.), the morphological dimensions of head (maximum length and breadth) were, respectively, measured with a scaled cephalometer and at precision levels of 0.5 mm. The measurements included maximum head length (glabella to inion), maximum head breadth (between right and left euryons). All data were recorded in data sheets along with the cephalic that were calculated using the following equation (Williams et al.; Golalipour et al., 2003).

  Maximum head breadth  
Cephalic index=
  Maximum head length  

Then, the craniofacial typing was done through comparing this index with the craniofacial phenotypic classification and the result was recorded (Table I).

The data for each person was recorded in a special form and then analyzed by EPI6.


Mean and SD of cephalic index in Turkman group was 80.4 + 4. The morphological classification of the head was done according to the cephalic index. Among Turkmans the dominant type was hyperbrachycephalic with a frequency of 42.4% and the rare type was the dolichocephalic (8.1%) (Table II).


In this study, cephalic index was 80.4+4. The cephalic index of this study was higher than Abolhasanzadeh study in Tehran- Iran with 75 (Abolhasanzadeh & Farahani, 2003), and is similar to other studies such as India with 80.42 (Shah & Jadhav), and Chile (80.42) (del Sol) and lower than a study in native Fars males with 84.8 (Golalipour).

Garcia & Lips (1986 a,b) determined that cephalic index in Chile with average of 81.51 ± 6.46. Also, cephalic index reported, 81.19 ± 0.05 in European people in Mediterranean area, and 79.72 ± 0.97 in North of Europe (Garcia & Lips, 1986 a,b).

In our study, dominant type of head shape was brachycephalic (42.4 %). This finding is similar to another study in Iran (Abolhasanzadeh & Farahani) that dominant type was brachycephalic (36.6 %). Dominant type of head from this study is not similar to another study in India (Bhatia et al, 1995) (dolicocephalic 58.5%), and del Sol study in Chile (del Sol) and other study (Marquer & Chamela, 1961) with mesocephalic type.

Bathiaeia on 806 samples in India reported that 19.2 % of them were hyperbrachycephalic, 58.5% dolichocephalic, 21% mesocephalic and less the 1% of them were brachycephalic.

Beside, in a study on 50 individuals adults reported that 66% of the individuals were mesocephalic, 28% brachycephalic, 4% hyperbrachycephalic and 2% dolichoephalic in the IX Región of Chile (del Sol).

In 2004, a study in India on 302 male students showed that 41% of the students were mesocephalic, 37% brachycephalic, 14% heperbrachycephalic, and 7% dolichocephalic (Shah & Jadhav).

In other study that was done on 953 adult male (22-24 years old) in Tehran- Iran in 2003, reported that 36.6 % of the individuals were brachycephalic, 29.9 % hyperbrachycephalic, 24.5 % mesocephalic and 9% dolichocephalic (Abolhasanzadeh & Farahani).

Furthermore, in another study was done on native Fars males in North of Iran, reported that 52% of individuals were hyperbrachycephalic, 25% brachycephalic, 21.5% mesocephalic and 1.5% dolicocephalic (Golalipour, 2006).

In respect to the variations in head shape in various races and ethnicities and geographical zones, we believe that inhereditary factor primarily affects on the shape of head, however environment has secondary effect on it.

In the first glance it seems that inheritance determines the varieties of the cranium among different race. Environment is undoubtedly an effective determinant as well, but through a closer look, it can be concluded that it is actually the genotype of the population which dictates its response to the environmental stimuli (Heidari et al; Golalipour et al., 2003; Jordaan, 1976; Bharati etal., 2001).

Interestingly, it was noticed that the first generation of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii had an increased head breadth, a decreased head length and a higher cephalic index than their parents (Heravi & Zieaee, 2002).

Also in addition to inheritance, geographical factors play a certain role (Heidari et al, 2004; Golalipour et al, 2003; Jordaan; Bharati et al; Jagr et al, 1998).

The influential of time must also be considered as a probability. Furthermore, in a study it was observed that over a period of 30 years, the residents of an area in Japan developed some changes in the form of their cranium toward an increase in the head breadth in the subsequent generation (Nakashima, 1986). Time can also induce the gradual expression of genetic characteristics in individuals. A group of black Africans tends to become more dolicocephalic than their white peers within the first 2 years of life (Okanlawon et al, 1990). In addition, in Czech Republic, it was observed a natural decrease in the cephalic index within the first 3 years of life (Krasnicanova, 1990).

It must be remembered that the reaction to a given environment represents the interaction of the genotype of the population being researches with the environment (Jordaan).

With regard to the findings of this study and other investigations in Iran we can conclude that trend of brachycephahzation and hyperbrachycephalic was happened during some centuries on consequents generations of people.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.We appreciate the research department of Gorgan University of Medical Sciences, and Miss Soraya Ghafari.


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Correspondence to: Dr. Mohammad Jafar Golalipour
Department of Anatomy, Gorgan University of Medical Sciences, P. O. Box: 49175-553,
Gorgan, IRAN.

Email: mjgolalipour @

Received: 19-10-2006, Accepted: 22-12-2006


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