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.
The 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.