The occipital area in medieval dogs and the role of occipital dysplasia in dog breeding


Abstract: An investigation was carried out on 42 dog skulls from the early medieval period. The skulls were excavated in Wroclaw, Poland, and in Novgorod and Moscow, Russia. Craniometric measurements were taken. On the basis of the basion-ethmoid measurement, the shoulder height was estimated. The foramen magnum height and width were measured and the foramen magnum index was calculated. The foramen magnum was typical in shape, and any occipital dysplasia signs observed were in the skulls. The results of the investigation, in comparison to other investigations of modern breeds and archaeozoological material, suggest that occipital dysplasia is not a pathology but rather a morphological variation connected with intentional dog breeding that can occur as a result of inbreeding.

Keywords: Occipital dysplasia, foramen magnum, archaeozoology, craniometry, skull

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