The Anatomical Rage Of Variation Seen In The Anthropometry Of The Ear Among Igbinedion University Okada Students Between Age 16-35

Anatomy Project and Seminar Material

The Anatomical Rage Of Variation Seen In The Anthropometry Of The Ear Among Igbinedion University Okada Students Between Age 16-35

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Roebuck et al noted that anthropometric data varies considerably for individuals within a family or a nation and between nations.

Anthropometry refers to the measurement of living human body dimensions for the purpose of understanding human body physical variation as it plays an important role in plastic surgery, prosthetics, and so on for data collection. Statistical data about the distribution of body dimensions in the population are useful for apparel sizing, forensics, and optimise products.

Many studies have defined human body parts and their proportion to each other morphometrically. In humans, the ear is the defining feature of the face and its structure shows signs of sex and age. The human ear is divided into external, middle and internal part. The pinna and external acoustic meatus forms the external ear. The lateral surface of the pinna is irregularly concave, faces slightly forward and displays numerous eminences and depressions. These structures do not merely act as trumpets; they are the first series of stimulus modifiers in the auditory apparatus.(Standrings, 2008). The importance of anthropometric data was stressed by Abeyshekera and Shahnavaz when they stated that a piece of equipment designed to fit 90% of the male United States population would fit about 90% of Germans, 80% Frenchmen, 65% of Italians, 45% of Japanese, 20% of Thais, and 10% percent of Vietnamese. (Abeyshekera, 1989).

Saha observed that there were differences in anthropometric data of people from different regions of India (Saha, 1985). Similarly in Nigeria different regions of people presents different anthropometric data. Jung and Jung surveyed the dimensions and characteristics of Korean ears and found that age gender and different ethnic populations were determinants of ear dimensions. (Jung et al, 2003). A study carried out in India observed that North-West Indians have smaller ear lobules when compared to Caucasians and Japanese population but similar to those found among the Onge tribe of the Andhra (India) and Newars of Nepalby Sharma et al.

Since anthropometric data should be established for the user population as anthropometric data for Igbinedion University students is scant, the present study attempts to provide anthropometric data for the ear. The study is intended to describe the anatomical height and width of the ear amongst Igbinedion University Students (aged from 16-35years). From these data, it is envisaged that anatomical and morphological differences and changes of the ear in relation to age and sex in our population would be established.

1.2 Statement of Problem

There is no documented anthropometric data of the ear on an average of 16-35 years of age among Igbinedion university students. This project focuses on documenting the anthropometric data of the ear of Igbinedion University students of the above age and as well as discuss the relevance and uses of anthropometric data in identification and application to forensic science.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study is based on well-established hypothesis that the human external ear is a highly variable structure. Therefore the main objective is to investigate to what extent this variability exists. It is not possible to undoubtedly prove the theory that all ears are unique, therefore, the null hypothesis is that some human ears are the same. The hypothesis would be accepted, if two ears are found to be exactly alike.

1.3 Scope and Significance of the Study

The scope of this project is aimed at investigating the range of variation seen in the anthropometry of the ear among Igbinedion University Okada students between the ages of 16-35 years. The study focused on various components of the external ear and how they vary. A combination of various previous methods as well as some new initiatives was employed. As the variation technique used for the study is through measuring the length and width of the external ear structure.

The significance of the study was aimed to answer the following questions:

  1. How much variation is displayed in ear size?
  2. Does sexual dimorphism exist in external ear structure?
  3. What range of variation is seen between the two ears of a single individual?
  4. How does age affect ear structure?
  5. Are all ears different?

1.5 Definition of Terms

A) Anthropometry:

Anthropometry can be defined as the scientific study of the measurements and proportions of the human body.

B) Dimorphism:

Dimorphism isthe existence among animals of same species of two distinct form that differs in one or more characteristics, such as colourization, size, age, shape or sex; Sexual dimorphism on the other hand is a phenotypic differentiation between males and females of the same species

C) Morphometry:

The process of measuring the external shape and dimension of landforms, living organisms or other objects.

D) Morphology:

The study of the forms of things, in particular; a particular form, shape or structure.

E) Ovia North East:

This is a local government in Okada town region in the Edo state area of Nigeria containing populations from different tribes.

Chapter Five

Discussion and Conclusion

5.1 Sexual Dimorphism

The aim of this project was to investigate the range of variation seen in the external ear structure among Igbinedion University Students between 16 – 35yrs of age.This was done through investigation of ear dimensions such as height and width The first question asked when investigating external ear variability was; does sexual dimorphism exist in ear structure?

The findings in terms of ear measurements of this study were similar to those of Schwalbe (1897). Average ear height of males was a bit smaller than in schwalbe’s studies (61.88)compared to (6.4mm), however average ear height of females was significantly smaller in this study (59.59)mm compared to (61 .9mm) The range of ear heights observed by Schwalbe (1897) did not go as low as observed in this study; he found no ears smaller than 50mm in height, while the range of ear sizes here was 47mm-74mm. Ear width measurements in the present study are considerably smaller here than in Schwalbe’s work; however the method used to measure ear width in this study was different. Width was taken using anthropometric points as described by Farkas (1990), and varies considerably to the method used by Schwalbe (1897), who took the width as a line perpendicular to the line of ear height, so the two cannot be compared. Brucker et al., (2002) found overall average ear height in their sample to be larger than that found in this study (63mm compared to 61.81mm).

The results show that males have significantly larger ears than females, supporting the findings of previous studies (Schwalbe, 1897; Peeples et al, 1985; Ferrario el al., 1999; Bnickeret al., 2002). T-tests showed significant differences between mean ear height, and width.

5.2 Left Ear-Right Ear Comparisons

The relationship between the left and right ears is important for determining the levels of genetic and environmental control of ear structure development (Pechenkinaet al., 2000). In development, the cells of both ears share the same genes. Therefore, if the ear structure were under complete genetic control, the ears would be expected to be identical. Previous studies have shown that the left and right ears of an individual may differ in size and structure (Schwalbe, 1897; lannarelli, 1989; Ferranoet al., 1999). Therefore, it is likely that environmental factors play at least some part in the development of the external ear.

This study showed that high correlations exist between the dimensions of the left and right ears height. However, as discussed earlier, these are the more “fleshy” features of the ear, and have a significant relationship with each other when all ears are taken into account. These findings suggest that the fleshy parts of the ear are the most variable, as a lot of variation can exist between the left and right ears of a single individual. This also suggests that these are the features under the least genetic control, and are more greatly affected by environmental factors during development. Therefore, it is possible for the features of the left and right ears to be very different.

5.3 Age Comparisons

Previous studies have shown that ear height increases with age throughout adulthood (Schwalbe, 1897; Ferrario et al ., 1999; Brucker et al., 2002). It has been hypothesized that this increase is partly due to growth of tissues in the ear and partly due to the stretching of skin over time. This stretching is likely to occur mostly in the earlobe, the fleshiest part of the ear (Azaria et al, 2002). It is thought that wearing earrings exacerbates this stretching and may explain why women’s ears tend to grow more than men’s later in life (Schwalbe, 1897).

The data were separated according to age, in order to compare those aged between 16-20, 21-25, 26-30 and 30-35 years. Statistical parameters such as means and standard deviations were calculated for these groups. T-tests showed significant differences between the means of the two groups; ear height, and ear width. The difference in earlobe height is important, as this lends support to the idea that earlobe stretching is a major factor in the increase in ear height with age. The significant increases in ear width indicate that there is also definite ear growth, as lateral increases in length cannot be explained by the effect of gravity.

Men were found to have significantly longer ear length than women by Azaria et al. (2002). However none of the measurements taken were standardized for either ear height or ear width. In this study, using standardized values, males were still shown to have larger ear lengths, however this difference was not significant

5.4 Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, anthropometric studies had been carried out on the external ear of children with different conditions such as cleft lip/palate (Nathan et al., 2008), Down’s syndrome (Sforza et al., 2005) chromosomal abnormalities, like aneuploidy (Lettieri et al ., 1993). The diagnostic values of abnormality of external ear to establish the existence of an abnormality of the urinary tract, as a result of coincidence in the period of embryogenesis has been reported (Perrin et al., 1999). The present study shows existence of sexual dimorphism in the ear length on both sides. For ear width and index, significant differences were observed in only right and left sides respectively. Existence of sexual dimorphism in external ear dimensions were also documented (Bozkiret al., 2006; Meijermanet al ., 2007; Niemitzet al ., 2007). It was shown that sexual dimorphism exists in ear linear dimensions between males and females with higher values in males (Brucker et al., 2003). This is similar to the findings of Bozkiret al. (2006) who observed significant difference in ear height between Turkish and Japanese populations. In the same study, it was also shown that the total ear height and ear width were longer in males within the Turkish population. It was therefore concluded that all ear dimensions were significantly larger in males than in females (Sforza et al., 2009). The differences in males and females may be linked to the statement that auricle expansion starts earlier in males than females, which continues up to the older age (Meijermanet al., 2007). The variations in gender may also be influenced by genetic factors which vary with sex. Correlation between the variables was also studied. The result shows that there is significant correlation between the ear variables.

Reproduction accuracy was not significantly different between this method and previous anthropometric methods, but the standard deviation among these methods was found to be higher in direct anthropometry compared to other methods (Liu etal., 2010). For more accuracy and consistency in measurements, the following point suggested by Gavan (1950) was put into consideration;

  1. Decrease in the number of measurers (only single author involved in measurement),
  2. Increase in the experience of the measurer (repeated measurement method was adopted), and
  3. The landmarks were clearly and well defined.

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