Our skulls fit DaVinci’s ‘golden ratio’

(Credit: Roseann/Flickr)

Human skull dimensions follow the Golden Ratio, researchers report.

The Golden Ratio, which Leonardo da Vinci and Luca Pacioli described as the Divine Proportion, is an infinite number often found in nature, art, and mathematics. It’s a pattern in pinecones, seashells, galaxies, and hurricanes.

In their new study investigating whether skull shape follows the Golden Ratio, researchers compared 100 human skulls to 70 skulls from six other animals.

The skulls of less related species such as dogs, two kinds of monkeys, rabbits, lions, and tigers, however, diverged from this ratio.

Lines overlaid on DaVinci's illustration show the golden ratio in the human face, hand, and torso
DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man with Golden ratios highlighted. (Credit: Modified by Rafael Tamargo/Johns Hopkins)

“The other mammals we surveyed actually have unique ratios that approach the Golden Ratio with increased species sophistication,” says Rafael Tamargo, professor of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We believe that this finding may have important anthropological and evolutionary implications.”

The Golden Ratio can be calculated by taking a line and dividing it into two unequal parts, with the length of the longer part divided by the shorter length being equal to the entire length divided by the longer part.

Tamargo’s interest in history and anatomy led him to write a paper on finding the human brain and spinal cord in the depiction of God in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting in 2010.

Jonathan Pindrik, now a pediatric neurosurgeon at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, also contributed to the study.

The researchers report their findings in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.

Source: Johns Hopkins University