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Broca-type occipital crochet, Paris, France, 1870-1890

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Invented by Paul Broca (1824-880), a French surgeon and anthropologist, this device was used by him to measure the inclination of the occipital bone at the back of the head. The inclination of the back of the head was believed to be an indication of race or ethnicity. Broca devised new instruments and research methods to collect masses of measurements of the human body and particularly the skull. The instrument was made by Mathieu, a surgical instrument maker in Paris.

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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: occipital crochet

Instrument used to measure the occipital bone at the back of the head.

Glossary: physical anthropology

The study of humans, mainly their biological and physical make-up as well as their evolutionary history.

Glossary: anthropology

The social, cultural and geographical study of humans and humankind.