1.1    Background of the Study

Anthropometry (from Greek anthropos, “man” andmetron, “measure”) refers to the measurement of the human individual.Anthropometry involves the systematic measurement of the physical properties of the human body, primarily dimensional descriptions of body size and shape,it is the study of the measurement of the human body in terms of the dimensions of bone, muscle, and adipose (fat) tissue. Actual stature, weight, and body measurements (including skinfolds and circumferences) will be collected for purposes of assessing growth, body fat distribution, and for the provision of reference data. Anthropometry is the single most universally applicable, inexpensive, and non-invasive method available to assess the size, proportions, and composition of the human body. Today, anthropometry plays an important role in industrial design, clothing design, ergonomics and architecture where statistical data about the distribution of body dimensions in the population are used to optimize products. Changes in lifestyles, nutrition, and ethnic composition of populations lead to changes in the distribution of body dimensions (e.g. obesity epidemic), and require regular updating of anthropometric data collections.

Cephalic index is a useful anthropometric parameter utilized in the determination of racial variations. It is also used to determine sexual differences especially in individuals whose identities are unknown. It is one of the clinical anthropometric parameters recognized in the investigation of craniofacial skeletal deformities and brain development because of its validity and practicality.

Cephalic index is the most frequently investigated craniofacial parameter as it utilizes the length and breadth of the head which are useful indices in the study of secular trend, it is used to measure the size of the head,cephalic index gives an idea of how genetic characters are transmitted between parents, offspring, and siblings. It is inherited in a unitary fashion,isolated or syndromiccraniosynostosis, primary microcephaly, and hydrocephalus are pathological disorders which manifest with abnormal cephalic indices in addition to other features.Several studies have been carried out to classify head shapes based on cephalic index into four internationally acceptable categories that include DOLICHOCEPHALIC (<74.9), MESOCEPHALIC (75–79.9), BRACHYCEPHALIC (80.0–84.9), and HYPERBRACHYCEPHALIC (85.0–89.9). A study has shown that the people of Gurung community of Nepal of India are brachycephalic with cephalic index of 80.42.Bhils and Barelas are mesocephalic (76.98 & 79.80). The Iranian people are predominantly brachycephalic and hyperbrachycephalic. The research aimed at comparing the cephalic index between the two genders in a selected population and at determining a baseline value of cephalic index which could be vital in forensic, anthropological, and clinical studies. Cephalic index is an important parameter useful in establishing racial and sexual dimorphism, data obtained from such measurements have been very useful in differentiating people of different ethnic backgrounds, nutritional status, and gender. Several measurable anthropometric parameters or variables have been developed over the years for establishing possible differences amongst different groups.Cephalic index is one of such very useful measurable anthropometric variables used in physical anthropology to determine geographical gender, age, and racial and ethnic variations. Comparison of changes in cephalic index between parents, offspring, and siblings gives clues to genetic transmission of inherited characters or traits which play a role in forensic science.