A comparative cephalometric investigation was conducted between modem and ancient Greeks to determine craniofacial characteristics and to examine the significance of ethnic heritage. The modem sample was composed of 54 individuals chosen on the basis of ethnic background, normal occlusion and facial harmony. The ancient sample consisted of 40 skulls with normal occlusion dated back to the Minoan civilization (ca. 1,800-1,200 B.C.) A remarkable similarity in craniofacial morphology was revealed between the two groups, suggesting a close genetic affinity between modem and ancient Greeks.

The ability of the craniofacial complex to make compensatory or balancing changes was noted. The craniofacial complex was seen to function as an integrated biological entity. Moreover, the cranial base showed a definite influence on skeletal profile configuration. These results provide a more comprehensive understanding of how craniofacial variables interact and contribute to the morphology of the dentofacial skeleton.

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Author notes

E. Argyropoulos is a recently graduated resident of Orthodontics, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, and is presently in private practice

V. Sassouni was formerly Chairman and Professor, Department of Orthodontics, Director Center of Dentofacial Abnormalities, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, Chief Orthodontist Children’s Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (deceased)

A. Xenioutou is a professor of orthodontics in the School of Dental Medicine, University of Athens