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Craniometer, London, England, 1874-1902

Craniology studies the bones of the skull. This measuring instrument is a craniometer. Craniology was often the basis for anthropological theories during the 1800s. These explained social behavior and human evolution according to categories such as intelligence, race, and criminal temperament. This example was made by Down Brothers of London. It may have been used to investigate character traits in children by looking at their skull growth. The object was donated to the Science Museum by the Institute of Child Health in 1996.

Object number:

1996-392/22

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Glossary:

Glossary: anthropometry

The measuring of body parts so that comparisons can be made. The aim is to measure normal and abnormal development. In the past, it has also been used in attempts to measure racial difference.

Glossary: craniometer

Instrument for measuring the external dimensions of the skulls of deceased beings; for device to measure the skull of living being, use "cephalometer."