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  • Orly Wiseman

Sydney is No Neanderthal!

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

We filmed the skull collection at the Penn Museum at U Penn and discovered this ...

On the left Sydney pre-surgery, on the right a 3,000 year old skull.

It's true. Syd is no Neanderthal. This is confirmed by a number of medical professionals who are working on groundbreaking airway projects. These big brains compare the anatomy of our modern faces to skulls from centuries ago. A quick glimpse at Sydney above shows that her jaw sits further back than the ancient artifact's. The old skull has a pronounced jaw. Sydney has a recessed jaw. Also, the width of Sydney's palate is smaller. Physical attributes like these have a direct bearing on the airway.

The differences become even greater the further back in time you go. If the skull above was a Neanderthal, the dissimilarities would be even more pronounced.

Most of us are aware that humans have changed and evolved over thousands of years. But faces from just a few centuries ago are also very different than ours today.

Pre-industrial skulls have jaws that are much more friendly to the airway. This tells us that the airway is not just a Syd problem. It's a human development problem.

The brilliant and engaging Dr. Janet Monge.

The Penn Museum is the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and is an amazing resource for learning about the human experience. Scholars from all over the world come here to research and study. Dr. Janet Monge is the Curator-in-Charge of the Physical Anthropology Section at the Penn Museum and Adjunct Professor in Anthropology at U Penn. She is not only smart and knowledgeable, but she also has a wonderful sense of humor. She welcomed our cameras into her section and brought out a number of skulls for us to film.

Drs. Boyd, Evans, and Monge examine the ancient skulls from the Penn Museum collection.

Dr. Marianna Evans and Dr. Kevin Boyd have been working with Dr. Monge and the skull collection for years, studying how they relate to the airway. Dr. Evans is an orthodontist who solves airway challenges with facial expansion and Dr. Boyd works to prevent Airway issues by treating children at very early ages. Both are very successful dentists who have navigated their practices toward airway centric care.

Dr. Boyd shows our director, Ed, how he measures the skulls with calipers.

Dr. Monge wheeled out a set of skulls they hadn't seen before. They measured palette width and jaw, height, and depth with calipers. They compared the skulls to 3D printed skulls from U Penn's Morton Cranial Collection. They also measured it against a model from a modern skull. They confirmed their findings that skulls today have less room for the airway.

The two 3D patient models on left and right have very thin bone structure around