Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/330

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commoner, rising to seven per cent. In modern civilized races the percentage ranges from five to ten. In following out the details of this enumeration I have spoken as if the microdontal condition had been the primary one, whereas all the available evidence leads to show that the contrary was the case. The characters of all the early crania, Neanderthal, Engis, and Cromagnon, are those of macrodonts. The progress has been from the macrodont to the microdont, as it probably was from the microcephalic to the macrocephalic.

The effects of the variations in size of the teeth are numerous and far-reaching. The fluctuation in the weight of the jaw depending on these variations has an important influence on the center of gravity of the head, and affects the set of the skull on the vertebral column. This leads to a consequent change in the axes of the occipital condyles, and it is one of the factors which determine the size of the neck-muscles, and therefore the degree of prominence of the nuchal crests and mastoid process.

As the teeth and alveolar arches constitute a part of the apparatus for articulate speech, so these varieties in dental development are not without considerable influence on the nature of the sound produced. The necessarily larger alveolar arch of the macrodont is hypseloid or elliptical, more especially when it has to be supported on a narrow frontal region, and this is associated with a more extensive and flatter palatine surface. This, in turn, alters the shape of the mouth cavity, and is associated with a wide flat tongue, whose shape participates in the change of form of the cavity of which it is the floor. The musculature of the tongue varies with its shape, and its motions, upon which articular speech depends, become correspondingly modified. For example, the production of the sharp sibilant S requires the approximation of the raised flexible edge of the tongue to the inner margins of the teeth behind the canines, and to the palatine margin close behind the roots of the canine and lateral incisor teeth. This closes the vocal tube laterally, and leaves a small lacuna about 5 mm. wide anteriorly, through which the vibrating current of air is forced. A narrow strip of the palate behind the medial halves of the median incisors bounds this lacuna above, and the slightly concave raised tongue-tip limits it below.

With the macrodont alveolar arch, and the correspondingly modified tongue, sibilation is a difficult feat to accomplish, and hence the sibilant sounds are practically unknown in all the Australian dialects.

It is worthy of note that the five sets of muscular fibers, whose function it is to close laterally the flask-like air-space between the tongue and the palate, are much less distinct and smaller in