Sexual dimorphism in facial shape of modern Buryats of Southern Siberia
Objectives: The aim of the present study was to investigate sexual dimor- phism in the full facial shape of modern Buryats—people of Southern Siberia of Mongolian origin.
Methods: For this purpose, we have used geometric morphometrics based on standardized full-face frontal photographs. This allowed us to assess and visu- alize differences in facial shapes between Buryat men (n = 98) and women (n = 89). To specify the facial areas, where the differences occurred, we have complemented our analysis with standard anthropometric facial parameters based on approximations to the craniofacial and mandibular landmarks and soft-tissue morphology of specific facial areas.
Results: Our results revealed that Buryat women have a set of sexually dimor- phic features similar to those reported earlier for other Asian populations (a relatively wider and vertically shorter lower face, more round visible areas of the eyes, relatively narrower noses, smaller mouths, larger [in vertical dimension] foreheads, and relatively thinner upper lips, when compared to Buryat males). At the same time, Buryat women had a specific characteristic, distinguishing them from other world populations—a significantly higher upper face width-to-height ratio (fWHR) compared to males. This indicates that the high fWHR is not a universally male feature in humans, which raises a question of underlying developmental mechanisms.
Conclusions: Our results clearly demonstrate that some elements of sexually dimorphic facial shapes may differ across populations with different genetic and ecological backgrounds, and suggest that universal mechanisms of sex- specific facial morphogenesis still need to be clarified in the future.