Scientists at the Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology of the University of Valencia have been studying the anatomy of the human head in a unique way, revealing the modularity of the musculoskeletal system and its evolutionary origins.
The quantitative technique is called anatomical network analysis (AnNA). It uses a computer it maps all sorts of meeting points and interactions between different anatomical components of the head.
AdvertisementThe research team discovered that the head is broken down into ten different modules, each of which seems to have evolved mostly independently of the other ones.
"Each skull generated a network model in which each bone was represented as the network node and each physical articulation, as a connection. Thus, each skull was modelled as a 0-1 matrix with each connection being a 1. This matrix served to analyse the network attributes, which could in turn be compared to other generic network properties," explained lead researcher Diego Rasskin Gutman.
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