Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Departments/Programs

Anthropology

First Advisor

Christopher C Gilbert, Ph D.

Second Advisor

Victoria M Dominguez, Ph D.

Abstract

The transverse sinus spans the endocranial surface of the occipital bone and ultimately transmits deoxygenated blood to the sigmoid sinus and jugular vein en route to the heart. This paired sinus tends to be more defined on either the left or right side in human crania. Left and right dominance, or the use of one side of the body more than the other, leaves traces on the human skeleton. Methods to determine handedness upon examination of various elements of the human skeleton mostly focus on the use of the extremities, while little research exists examining the skull for evidence of handedness. This thesis explores the potential correlation between asymmetries of the transverse sinus and summary statistics of handedness in human populations, connecting the results to the importance of determining handedness in physical anthropology and osteology. Data were collected on modern human crania from the American Museum of Natural History and compared to statistical data from the literature on handedness. Results of several Chi-Squared tests suggest there is little to no association between transverse sinus dominance and handedness in human populations, although there is possibly an association between transverse sinus dominance and jugular foramen dominance. Additional research using more controlled samples of known handedness is needed to more conclusively examine transverse sinus dominance and handedness in modern human populations.

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