A new study has compared human skulls to other animals resulting in the claim that our heads tend to follow the golden ratio – the special number associated with beauty. The findings appear in The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.
The Golden ratio is denoted by the irrational number phi equating to nearly 1.618 and is a famous mathematical concept. Neurologists from John Hopkins, Rafael Tamargo, and Jonathan Pindrik claim in their new study that phi might indicate some kind of sophistication going in the brain box. They mention that the human skull denotes the elegant harmony of both structure and function as it has evolved over millennia. The paper compares 100 human craniums physiologically normal with 70 others representing six different mammals.
The Nasioiniac arc connects the point on nasal bones with a bump located at the back of the head known as the inion. Distances were measured from the nasal bone to a point on skull known as bregma and from bregma to inion. The cranial features were selected as representative distances corresponding to significant neural structures in humans as well as other animals.
The ratio of the distance from bregma to the inion and bregma to the nasion equals 1.6 which is also the ratio of nasion to the inion and bregma to the inion. 1.6 is quite close to the golden ratio so the researchers think there might be something interesting here. Tamargo said that the other mammals surveyed had ratios nearing the golden ratio with an increase in the sophistication of species. This might have significant evolutionary and anthropological implications. However, these implications are not clear. The ratio has been spotted in several physiological structures in recent years which prompts the doubt if there is at all any biological significance.
There are two numbers a and b, a being greater. Their ratio is a:b. When (a+b): a equals a:b, then it is considered as the Golden Ratio first named by Luca Pacioli in 1509. Even the great artist Leonardo Da Vinci used it for major artistic proportions.
It has been found that the spiral shell of nautilus follows this ratio in the form of a golden spiral. The real question is if we are influenced by selection bias when looking for the applications of this ratio or it is actually followed in the evolutionary process. In 2015, Eve Torrence, a mathematics professor at Randolph-Macon College said that it is quite silly to assume that only the golden ratio reflects some sort of perfection since humans are quite diverse.
It is up to debate in the scientific community if the golden ratio found in the human skull’s midline indicates some complexity or is just a mere observation.
Reference: The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery