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Callipers used in craniology, Greenwich, England, 1850-1900

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These boxwood callipers were used as craniometers. They measured women’s heads during craniological studies Craniology studied the bones of the skull, grouping people according to categories such as intelligence, race and criminal temperament. It was often the basis for anthropological theories during the 1800s. These explained social behavior and human evolution. The callipers were made by Hudson and Son, of Greenwich in London.

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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: craniometer

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