Comparison Between the Parietal Foramina Observed in Samples of African and European Population Groups

Soné van der Walt*, Niels Hammer, Lané Prigge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Parietal foramina of the human skull act as a passageway for emissary veins, connecting the superior sagittal sinus to the veins of the scalp. This passageway can lead to the spread of infection from the scalp to the dural venous sinuses, but may also assist in relieving intracranial pressure. However, variation in the prevalence of parietal foramina has been noted among population groups. This observational and descriptive study aimed to determine the incidence, size and location of parietal foramina by using osteological specimens of 252 African skulls from the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa and 95 European skulls from the University of Leipzig, Germany. Parietal foramina were significantly more common in the African sample (61.9 %) compared to the European sample (55.8 %). Moreover, the Central European sample displayed more unilateral foramina (29.5 %), while the African sample exhibited more bilateral foramina (40.8 %). The diameter of the parietal foramen average 1.98 mm and 1.88 mm for the European and African samples, respectively. In this study, a median foramen on the sagittal suture was observed in 14 of the overall skull caps (4 %). This study demonstrated that parietal foramina are more prevalent than anticipated in both population groups. Findings of this study, indicating an increased prevalence, and the subsequent possibility of more emissary veins encountered, can be used to improve the understanding of the variations in the prevalence and clinical implications of the parietal foramen among various population groups located world-wide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-639
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Morphology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Calvarium
  • Epidemiology
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Parietal foramen
  • Prevalence


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