The elusive petroexoccipital articulation

Israel Hershkovitz, Bruce Latimer, Olivier Dutour, Lyman M. Jellema, Susanne Wish-Baratz, Christine Rothschild, Bruce M. Rothschild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, 1,869 skulls from the Hamann-Todd Collection were examined (macroscopically and by radiographs) for closure of the petroexoccipital articulation (jugular synchondrosis). The results demonstrated that the petroexoccipital articulation underwent closure between 20 and 50 years of age in most of the human skulls evaluated. Approximately 7-10% of the human skulls underwent complete union of the petroexoccipital articulation before 20 years of age. In 5-9% of the population, the joint remained completely open. After 50 years of age, there was no increase in the frequency of individuals with complete closure. The frequency of 'partial closure' was similar (4-8%) for all age groups (20-25, 30-35, 40-45, 50-55, 60-65, and 70+), excluding the 30-35 year old group (17.5%). The time interval necessary for closure to occur appeared to be very short. No significant differences in closure rates due to ethnic origin, gender, or laterality were noted. The utility of the petroexoccipital articulation as an age estimator is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1997


  • Age identification
  • Jugular synchondrosis
  • Skull base


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