Variations in Anatomy - anyone know about this?

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Old 08 August 2005   #46
Here are some books that might interest you:

http://www.forensicanthro.com/forensic-books/

Many of them concern themselves with how to derive the appearances of real people from their real and highly varied skulls.

I just bought this book earlier today.

Forensic Art and Illustration

Drift around in that list, and follow the "people who bought this book also bought..." links on Amazon and you may like what you find. Some of it is more forensic; some of it is more artistic.

Last edited by jfrancis : 08 August 2005 at 06:55 PM.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #47
Originally Posted by mosconariz: I don't agree with this, most identical twins are not identical at all, their anathomy differs in fat, height and even in details in the shape of the nose etcétera; and they have the SAME DNA... this twins, if you doesn't look close, you'll see them identical. But they aren't because they have had their own experiences in life.


Well I think this would be caused by environmental things like eatnig different amounts of food and developing different habits gradually over time. That makes them different, so obviously also grow differently. I'd say something like they're two different souls anyway, but there's no real truth to have here, scientifically, heh.

OK, just for the sake of reason and logic in arguements I'm going to try one time. *


DNA has an obvious consistent structure which is ofcourse designed to be compatible with others, it is consistent which in turn implies a common shape and form to be present in every specimen of one species. To deny this is irrational and serves no purpose in defining 'variations'. The right track therefore is to also consider the ways of genetics and evolution in the picture. Which IS changing but CONSISTENT.

So we have now, environmentals, genetics, behavioral influences on the form. And these can not be viewed separately but should be viewed in context with eachother. And all three btw, have consistencies that would be viewed as normal, and yes, even..nominal. Like health for instance, would be a nominal state for a human being, healthy.

Well, whatever.
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Last edited by jmBoekestein : 08 August 2005 at 07:38 PM.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #48
Originally Posted by mosconariz: I don't agree with this, most identical twins are not identical at all, their anathomy differs in fat, height and even in details in the shape of the nose etcétera; and they have the SAME DNA... this twins, if you doesn't look close, you'll see them identical. But they aren's because they have had their own experiences in life.

Maybe we can make something for this thread, maybe we can sketch all the cool variety we find in streets and upload it here... or maybe we should close this thread cause at this point we're going nowhere, hehe


WOW!! someone here gets the point!! Don't worry, your English is fine. (oh, yeah and I know that Paperclip, Llyanna, Jean Jenie etc got the point a while back too but that seems like so long ago now).

OK, here are some examples of variations so as people who are a little lost get the idea. I put *blank* in there where I have forgotten something - usually a name. If anyone can fault me or add to what I have said then that would be great. Maybe I will edit the first post to include all this stuff and it can act as a reference. The biggest gaps in my knowledge are in the genetic differences. It would be good if there were websites with images of people from around the world but I can't find them.

--------------------------------------------------------

Height:

There are wide extreems of height between the pygmees and the *blank*. Pygmees don't get much above 5 ft and it is thought that this is because it helps them to live in caves and other places where other people cant go.

The *blank* people average at ove 6 ft (including women). This height is attributed to the need to keep cool (long thin legs=cool).

There are congenital characteristics such as dwarfism and *blank* which can lead to people being very small. Whilst dwarfs have a "normal" size head, people who are *blank* have a smaller head and brain.

Width:

The width of people is another characteristic given largely by climate. People in cooler climates tend to be wider - for instance the Vikings are very wide at the chest with shorter arms. This is to increase the body/surface ratio so that they don't get cold.

Colour:

There are also wide variations in colour. These variatoins are due to the amount of sun that people recieve. There is no strict correlation between race and colour as the Aboriginees are black whilst being most closely related to the chineese who range from light brown to very pale.

Some people are albino which means that they have no pigment in thier skin. There are examples of this from all around the world - for example the singer "Saif Kiata" (sic?) is African albino.



Eyes:

There are wide variations in the ways that eyes look. For instance, many Asian women appear to have large eyes because they open thier lids (stahlburg 2005).

Eye colour varies from dark brown through grey, green and blue. Some peple have different colours for each eye (for example, David Bowie)

Hair:

There are many colours of hair from a strong red to a dark black. Hair colour genes can be recessive or diminent so that a couple with brown hair may both have the recessive gene for red hair which will only show up when thier child gets both the red genes. This means that 1 in 4 of thier childeren will have red hair.

Hairyness varies a great deal. Some people are born without hair an never develop it whilst others have hair all over. It is thought that this is due to a recessive gene left over from the past but it could be as a result of the combination of other genes.

The hair line can vary in hieght a great deal. Some women will shave thier hair line to where they want it. Some see this as an advantage, giving them the choice as to where it goes.

The length of hair varies a great deal too. Some men are capable of growing very lengthy beards whilst others can't. It is the custom - for instance in much of the shikh community for men to grow thier hair long and wrap there hair in a turben. This signifies strength. Others, such as the Bhuddist monks, shave thier head as a sign of purity.

Teeth

It seems evident that sexual selection or natural selection, or both, has resulted in us having a small jaw - certainly compared to our ancesters. This has led to a great number of people having more teeth than can comfortably fit into their mouths. In many places, teeth are left alone but elsewhere they are extracted strategically and a brace put in place to push the remainting teeth together.

Some people on the other hand are borne with gaps between the teeth.

There is a condition called *blank* where the teeth grow very thin.

Fat:

The amount of fat on a body varies a lot for both cultural and genetic reasons. Fat and Sugar have, until recently, been hard come buy and we have no mechanism to tell us to stop eating them other than our common sense. This has led many people in wealthy countries such as America and Australia to be over-weight.

Fat diposits uccur on the belly, the upper back, around the kidneys and the neck for both men and women. Women accumulate more around the breasts and men more around the belly.

The large belly of many men is caused by sub-cutaniouse fat which forms around the vital organs as a buffer from poisoning - often caused by the excessive consumption of alchahol.

In many countries and in times past it has been considered attractive for women to be fat
Whilst the degree to which fat is considered beautifull varies, the waste/hip/chest ratios of the ideal are constant.

Also, whilst large breasts are fairly universally appreciated, the ideal shape is not universal, with some people prefering the droopier sort (such as the bangladeshees I believe).

Misc.
Many women (but not all) have high cheek bones and this is considered attractive. Fleshy deposits on the cheeks have evolved (probably through natural selection) to cause this to happen.

Examples of culturally enforced variation of shape.

In much of the western world, women have the desire to be thin. Many people who see images of western models assume that they have diareah and are about to die. There is no proven link (as far as I know) between images of skinny women in the media and eating dissorders. Aneraxia is as common in indian boys as it is in western girls.

In the *blank* tribe, two girls are selected to be the breeding stock and are kept in cages to be force fed.

There is the case of the *Blank* tribe where a woman with plump calves is considered beautifull. This has lead to some sexual selection which is accentuated by the binding of the legs.

In China, it was the custom to bind womans feet so that they don't grow large. This is considered beautifull but caused a great amunt of pain. The causet is similar example.

One of the most extreem cases of beauty through disfigurement is in the *blank* people who bind the heads of childeren to make them grow into extended shapes.

Another example is that of the girraffe women who earn a ring around thier neck for each year of fidelity. Through time, this streaches their neck - sometimes to a hazardus extent. Should they be un-faithfull then one of these rings is removed. This increases the danger that their neck will collapse and they will become paralysed.

The *blank* people have a custom of filing the teeth of women down to stumps as this is considerd beautifull.

The woman of the *blank* tribe insert ceramic discs into holes in their lips and thier lower front teeth are knocked out. The discs are replaced from time to time by larger ones. The larger the disc, the more that the girl will recieve from the Grooms faimily upon marriage. It is thought that this practice began fairly recently as a measure to prevent slave traders from taking people who didn't look like they would be able to work well. It is a tradition that is now seen as pointless and is dying.

Examples of variations in features causing other variations.

Some people have small chins (receded chins) and others have large front teeth. This can result in their lower fron teeth extending further forward than do their upper teeth. If this is combined with a large lower lip then the lower lip can be pushed down by the teeth and will over-hang.

Ageing

Features such as the nose and ears become larger over time. It is generally accepted that this is due to the force of gravity.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

OK... that is about it for now. I was actually fairly impressed at how much I know but there are big gaps in my knowledge - particularly as concernes genetic differences such as the differences in skin-folding around the eyes. I also still don't know why some people have dimples and others don't.

Last edited by John Keates : 08 August 2005 at 07:50 PM.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #49
Originally Posted by Durty: Everyone has the same facial pattern. Look at fibinachi's theories and the golden mean, The facial pattern gets exponentially more complex or simple with every face, although patterns' complexity might differ, the pattern will still maintain it's mathematical sum of the human race. You don't need books on 'medical abnomailties', all you need is your minds eye.

Everyones statements which you happlessly strike irrelevant in your thread is what made this thread progress so well. The swan anaology doesn't fit, especially if you use DArwinian theory which artists somehow intertwine in their idealogical conventions to prep creation or duplication from quantity which gets labeled the norm or an abberation. abberations that DONT fall into those patterns are abberations. Theirs a lot of relevance.


I know about the supposed golden mean facial patturns and have done for some time now. I also know that they are considered speculative and of little worth by the scientific community. Once again, I am not talking about averages or normality - I know about those... I am talking about DIFFERENCES. Obviously you have to take SOME kind of base from which to draw differences but to suggest that there is a neutral base is bogus. And to suggest that we shouldn't discuss variations because we can conceve of a mathematical average is barmy.

How does mathematics deal with the DIFFERENCE between a concave and a convex nose? Or the creation of dimples? Or freckles, or the ratio of thinkness between the top and bottom lip - or the degree to which the bottom lip might curve down and why that might happen? It tells us nothing of these things.... at all. You could almost certainly find the same kinds of relationships in the head of a pig.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #50
Originally Posted by John Keates: How does mathematics deal with the DIFFERENCE between a concave and a convex nose? Or the creation of dimples? Or freckles, or the ratio of thinkness between the top and bottom lip - or the degree to which the bottom lip might curve down and why that might happen? It tells us nothing of these things.... at all. You could almost certainly find the same kinds of relationships in the head of a pig.


It tells you everything actually. The very fact that a pig has the same sort of mathematical relationships should have hinted you at that.
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Old 08 August 2005   #51
"It tells you everything actually. The very fact that a pig has the same sort of mathematical relationships should have hinted you at that."

First off, it is far from clear that those mathematical relationships are anything but imaginary - there is no good reason why morphology should work in that way.

Plus, can you explain to me exactly how those "mathematical relationships" explain freckles or the curve of a nose?

By explain, I mean predict. What predictions does this theory make which are usefull to us?

Do you really think that it is possible to extrapolate from some maths that pigs heads should be the shape that they are? This is patturn fitting after the fact. There is no way to extrapolate from maths to find out what pigs heads look like. Fitting templates on is no more science than is astrology.

Try reading *the whole of* this if you arn't convinced:

http://plus.maths.org/issue22/features/golden/

I'm not saying that it is the be all and end all but at least it might give you something to think about.

Plus, you still have to explain how such maths explains the VARIETY which is the subject of this thread.

Last edited by John Keates : 08 August 2005 at 08:06 PM.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #52
Quote: Variations in Anatomy - anyone know about this?


I bet you had a discussion with a med student this is the very first thing they learn at anatomy class is that no human body is identical to the other, and these are called "Anatomical Variations". I don't have scientific knowledge about the topic but certainly it facinates me alot. Especially, I have two kids, the boy looks like me, my mom and some of his mom, and I can pin point these features exactly, the daughter looks very much like her brother, but surprisingly look just like her grand father from her mom.

It's amazing how subtle these variations are yet recognizable to the naked eye. I'm not sure how many faces we see in a life time, including those faces that change overtime, but you don't need an artist to recognize the subtlety of these variations.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #53
jfrancis, thanks for the link. It looks interesting but I'm not sure how much of it is strictly relevent.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #54
Well Keates your 'average human' with both sets of genitals is funny but you went about deriving it all wrong. You're confusing the meaning of the word 'average', with 'mean' and 'norm', and you're applying it to all humans indiscriminately.
There is a Gaussian bell-curve distribution, do you deny that? There is a place on that curve, which is 'fatter' than any other. That is the norm. It can be scientifically stated. It's not racism or political or anything else, it's just fact. It's just that we here don't know exactly what it is, for each part of the world (or for each 'population'). And of course - if the purpose is to find a 'norm' in a population - we have to have separate sets for male and female, each age-group, each race or population.

And kargokultti, yeah the surgery is not DNA. Obviously. It's the desire to look a certain way that is genetic. It only SEEMS like it's a new desire, because we haven't had the means to do it until lately, that's all.

edit: and about identical twins... yes, life contains thousands of things that have the potential to change our cells, I mentioned that in my post. Some examples:
food
drugs
UV radiation
disease
trauma
The longer we live the longer these act on us, and the more they change us.
But all these taken together still [usually] allow identical twins to look so alike - even in old age - that they can be mistaken for each other even by their closest. That to me says genes are more important than environment.

Last edited by Stahlberg : 08 August 2005 at 04:38 AM.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #55
Steven, what the hell are you doing up so early on a Sunday morning? Go back to sleep!

I'm up because I can't sleep. Elena just got her notice to be interviewed by immigration. Time to pack up and go home to the good ol' U.S. of A!

*back to topic*

One thing I always thought about is whether people looked any different hundreds or thousands of years ago. Record shows that we are generally taller and bigger than our ancestors, but if you look at the earliest semi-realistic representational art, it seems we've always looked the same in terms of features, proportions. When people talk about how "Rubenesque" women were the norm in the past, I think it's not because more women were plump, but that the plump ones were just fashionable because the aristocrats were well-fed, and being well-fed gives one the look of high class. I'm sure there were plenty of skinny women around back then.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #56
Haha, yeah my whole family was just up early for Sunday breakfast at a friend's house.
Congrats on the migration thing! I know how much it means to you guys.

Quote: I'm sure there were plenty of skinny women around back then.

Exactly, and what's more - if you think about what rich people ate back then - lard, cream, butter, fried food, salty food, sugar - and how much they exercised - pretty much zero in most cases - then it's surprising they're not even fatter than this:

Which to me proves that the artists of the time went out of their way to choose the slimmest models they could find (of the upper class of course). Which again IMHO proves that artists' tastes (at least male ones) have not changed much, if at all, due to 'cultural pressure' or whatever.

Sure, I've heard of teeth filing and binding of feet and skulls and all the rest. These seem like major incursions, and medically speaking they are, but visually speaking the differences are small.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #57
Originally Posted by Stahlberg: Congrats on the migration thing! I know how much it means to you guys.


Which to me proves that the artists of the time went out of their way to choose the slimmest models they could find (of the upper class of course). Which again IMHO proves that artists' tastes (at least male ones) have not changed much, if at all, due to 'cultural pressure' or whatever.



Thanks. We have mixed feelings about it (her English still sucks, so it won't be easy for her). I'm not too thrilled about ending my sabbatical, but it had to end sooner or later.

Artists in the Victorian times were known for using prostitutes and peasants that lived in poverty, because they were cheap and there was no complication with impropriety (a high society person modelling nude would've been a huge scandal). Makes you wonder where they got the rubenesque models from. Maybe the artists just picked the meatiest ones from the bunch.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #58
Victorian times were a bit later than Rubens right? But perhaps not so different I suppose... in that case I stand corrected.
 
Old 08 August 2005   #59
Hi Stahlberg,

I understand about the Bell curve pretty well. If I confuse 'average' with 'mean' then it is for this reason:

"In mathematics, there are numerous methods for calculating the average or central tendency of a list of n numbers. The most common method, and the one generally referred to simply as the average, is the arithmetic mean."

(taken from Wikipedia).

If you think about it, it is perfectly possible to make a neat bell curve distribution of a population without ANY of the individual members of that population looking in the least bit alike. For instance, we could take a mean distribution of what ALL species look like and how they vary from the early stages of zygotic formation (which are alike for all animals).

Another example would be with the swans. I should think that not all white swans are exactly white and not all black swans are exactly black. But the bell curve for swans would not look like a bell curve at all but two lumps - one near black and one near white.

It is possible that there is variation between each type also, so we would have to separate them into lumps. We would probably discover some kind of fractal structure. This would lead us pretty much back to square one... looking for differences in form.

Applying one big bell curve for all people is the same as for swans as far as I am concerned. Applying maths to biology in such simple terms is an aberation both of maths and biology.

Even if maths were somehow used to find an average type then they would look nothing like what you personally use as your basic model of a person. They would look somewhere between African, Indian and Chinese - each of which varies hugely. This person would look like nobody you have ever seen (probably).

It would be possible to apply statistical analysis to something like height only and that would make some kind of sense, but to try and do it for all characteristics at the same time would be barmy.

That is where the point about two genetals comes from (yes it was a bit silly but I was making a point).

I agree that, if we were trying to find an average then we would want to split the population into male/female and then into different geographical groups. This would NOT be a trivial thing to do. For instance, it is not enough to treat Africa as a group as there is more variatoin within Africa than within the rest of the world put together (a mark of the fact that people have been living there longer).

So we would have to divide Africa into many regions - NOT given by where impirical rule decided to slap bounderies but by where different groups of people live. This would infact be strictly impossible because there is extensive interbreeding between tribes (even if they deny this).

Basically, there are problems upon problems for anyone who wants to define the 'average' person in ANY way. Sure, we all have a kind of feeling that there is an average with two eyes and a nose etc but things get slippery when you try and tighten up your definition. This is because of all the little variations that go on which can shoot off in any directoin in phase space.

This brings me back to the point that I have had to make time and again which is that I would like to talk about the VARIATIONS. I'm not saying that people shouldn't learn a basic model of what people look like (apart from to say that, once they have done so, they should learn a different model as well) and I don't want to get into a big argument about what is and what isn't normal (and by the way, I regard Chinese eyes as perfectly normal with 'corrective' surgery being an abberation).

Just lets talk about some of the differences - whether we think that they are abberations or not.

I'm not concerned with Grey swans but with things that do actually exists (OK, signets are grey...)

*I use the term 'phase space' assuming that people know what it means. It is a mathematical way of ordering all possiblities where similar objects will be closer to each other. If we want to plot sticks of varying length and colour on a graph then that is easy as we only have two dimensions to cover but for many objects we have tens or trillions of dimensions. This does not stop the concept from being a usefull one
 
Old 08 August 2005   #60
Quote: This would NOT be a trivial thing to do.

Yes, but it would be even harder to find and list ALL the variations of the human species right? That was my point anyway.


Anyway, IMHO we're more similar to each other than you seem to think. Look at these guys. They all have a visible nasojugal fold (yet they're so different). It's such a little thing, we hardly think of them normally, but the face is full of little things like this that many or most have in common.

In fact 99.7 % of all human's DNA is exactly the same - we're much more homogenous than for instance chimpanzees. (But then of course on top of that, as stated before, we have all the external factors affecting how we look.)


But okay, variations... here's one I found, concerning toes length (both are female middle-aged). This I understand is middling to fairly unusual.

 
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