JFMT Online
  Home   Subscribe   Feedback   Sitemap  

Journal of Forensic
Medicine and Toxicology
(International Edition)
A peer Reviewed Journal Dedicated to the
promotion of all branches of medicine and
science useful in the administration of justice.


Home About Journal Editorial Board Current Issue Archives Online submission Contact
   This Issue Table of Content (PDF)  
   For contributors (PDF)  
   For readers  
   For Advertisers  
search engine by freefind advanced
   By Issue  
   By Author  
   By Title  

H.A.M. Mahinda1 , O.P. Murty2

This is a pilot study to know the thickness of skull and sternum bones during postmortem examination. A total number of 76 cases were studied on autopsy during the period of six months at University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Out of 76 cases, 66 were males and 10 were females. Male to female ratio was 6.6:1. Ten parameters were studied about the thickness of skull bones. Sternum bone thickness was also measured. Results showed thickness of skull bones in males to be:frontal 6.3 mm; temporal 3.9 mm ; occipital 7.7mm; parietal 5.8mm; central frontal bone 8.1mm and occipital 9.35mm. In females thickness at various points of skull bones was found to be: frontal, 5.7 mm; temporal, 3.4mm; occipital, 7.1mm;parietal, 5.6mm; central frontal bone, 7.4mm and occipital, 8.2mm. It was observed in our study that thickness of frontal and occipital bones of skull bones varied from 3 mm to 14 mm ,with an average of 8mm; an average thickness of 4mm was observed for temporal bones on both sides. Sternum thickness measured in males at Manubrium sterni to be 16.34 mm; Junction of Manubrium and body, 16.54mm; Middle of body,13.12mm ; at tip, 11.5mm; Suprasternal notch, 17.21 mm. In females, measurements were Manubrium sterni, 14.34 mm; Junction of Manubrium and body, 16.6mm; Middle of body, 11.2mm; at tip,10.25mm; Suprasternal notch, 16.2mm.

It was concluded that occipital bone was the thickest skull bone, while frontal bone was found to be the second thickest skull bone. It was also noted that skull bones were not uniform plates and have great variations in thickness at different points. Skull fracture and intracranial damage have heavy fatality in traumatic cases,Our study hence highlights the importance of varying skull bone thickness and thinness which is being correlated with skull fractures sites and intracranial damage in our future studies.  


skull bones; thickness of bone; fracture of bone; sternum thickness.



  1. QinY-X, Kaplan T, Saldanha A, Rubin C. Fluid pressure gradients, arising from oscillations in intramedullary pressure, is correlated with the formation of bone and inhibition of intracortical porosity. J Biomech 2003;36: 142737.

  2. Burger EH, Smit TH, Klein-Nulend J. Local strain gradients during bone remodeling. In: Davidovitch Z, editor. Biological Mechanisms of Tooth Movement and Craniofacial Adaptation.
    Birmingham, AL. Harvard Society of Advanced Orthodontics; 2000. pp. 6165.

  3. Judex S, Gross TS, Zernicke RF. Strain gradients correlate with sites of exercise-induced bone-forming surfaces in the adult skeleton. J Bone Min Res 1997;12: 173745.

  4. Bouvier M, Hylander WL. Strain gradients, age, and levels of modeling and remodeling in the facial bones of Macaca fascicularis. In: Davidovitch Z, Norton LA, editors. Biological Mechanisms of Tooth Movement and Craniofacial Adaptation. Boston, MA: Harvard Society of Advanced Orthodontics; 1996.pp. 40712.

  5. Hylander WL, Johnson KR. Strain gradients in the craniofacial region of primates. In: Davidovitch Z, editor. The Biological Mechanisms of Tooth Movement and Craniofacial Adaptation. Columbus: The Ohio State University; 1992. pp. 55969.

  6. Herring SW, Teng S. Strain in the braincase and its sutures during function. Am J Phys Anthrop 2000;112: 57593.

  7. Lieberman DE, Krovitz GE, Yates FW, Devlin M, St Claire M. Effects of food processing on masticatory strain and craniofacial growth in a retrognathic face. J Hum Evol 2004;46: 65577.

  8. Ross CF, Hylander WL. In vivo and in vitro bone strain in the owl monkey circumorbital region and the function of the postorbital septum. Am J Phys Anthrop 1996;101: 183215.

  9. Hylander WL, Picq PG, Johnson KR. Masticatory-stress hypotheses and the supraorbital region of primates. Am J Phys Anthrop 1991;86: 136.

  10. Rafferty KL, Herring SW, Artese F. Three-dimensional loading and growth of the zygomatic arch. J Exptl Biol 2000;203: 20933004.

  11. Herring SW, Teng S, Huang X, Mucci RJ, Freeman J. Patterns of bone strain in the zygomatic arch. Anat Rec 1996;246: 44657.

  12. Zviagin VN. Categories of variability in thickness of human skull bones.Sud Med Ekspert, 2001;44(5): 24-6 (PMID 11603026)

  13. Law SK. Thickness and resistivity variations over the upper surface of the human skull. Brain Topogr, 1993;6(2):99-109.

  14. Adeloye A , Kattan KR, Silverman FN . Thickness of normal skull in the American Blacks and Whites. Am J Phys Anthropol. 1975;43(1):23-30

  15. Yong H Hahn. Increased skull thickness. Available at URL: http://chorus.rad.mcw.edu/doc/00914.php . Accessed on 3/5/06

  16. Gordon I, Shapiro HA, Berson SD. In: Forensic medicine a guide to principles. Churchill Livingstone, 1988.


1. Medical Officer
2. Associate Professor
Forensic Pathology Unit, University
Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Author for Correspondence:
Dr. O.P. Murty, Additional Professor, Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, AIIMS, New Delhi 110049
Dr. O.P. Murty, dropmurty@yahoo.co.in


2010 Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology,
Dept. of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences,
New Delhi, INDIA.