Metopic suture lies between the halves of the growing frontal bone and usually closes in early infancy. If the metopic suture fails to close it persists in adulthood and could be considered an anterior continuation of the sagittal suture (SS). This study aimed to investigate if the metopic suture persistence is related to any significant deviations from the normal SS maturation. We also aimed to elaborate linear regression models for age-at-death prediction of the metopic crania and to compare their accuracy with the models developed on the control ones.
The SS was investigated in a total of 122 dry adult contemporary male crania of known age-at-death divided in a metopic series (n = 34) and a control one (n = 88). The crania were scanned and high-resolution volumetric images were generated using an industrial μCT system. The SS closure degree was assessed on cross-sectional tomograms using a scale of grades. Both series were compared and linear regression models for age-at-death prediction were elaborated.
The comparison between both series showed that the degree of SS closure differs significantly in all SS sections and bone layers and it is considerably lower in the metopic series. The elaborated linear regression models showed that the error in the age-at-death prediction of the metopic crania is almost two times bigger than that in the control.
The SS closure in metopic crania is significantly delayed compared to the control, which means that it is entirely unreliable and misleading as an indicator for age-at-death prediction.