Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Megan K. Moore

Second Advisor

Liza Cerroni-Long


Skeletal morphology is greatly influenced by muscle action and articulation. Exertion of force by muscle use permanently alters bone shape. It can therefore be assumed that the muscles involved in speech production would play a role in shaping the stomatognathic structures (i.e. relating to the mouth and jaw). This study has been designed to explore the resulting cranio-facial manifestations of linguistic diversity amongst modern Homo sapiens. Utilizing data independently collected from American, French, and Philippine skeletal collections, it is concluded that a correlation exists (albeit not significant) between observed musculoskeletal markers on the human mandible and the repetitive tongue positions required of each population's presumed spoken language: American English, French, and Tagalog. Specifically, the production of vowel phonemes correlates to repetitive use of the genioglossus, which consequently affects mental spine formation.