Volume 41, Issue 4 (July 1996)
Probable Torticollis Revealed in Decapitated Skull
The skeletal features of a moderately decomposed decapitated head recovered in 1993 are consistent with torticollis (wryneck) and inconsistent with other possible syndromes. Asymmetries of the face, cranial vault, mandible, and cervical vertebrae closely resemble published cases of paleopathological and recent torticollis. The laterally directed left occipital condyle and articulation of the basicranium and cervical vertebrae indicate that the head was tipped toward the left shoulder. Right-left asymmetries of areas of muscular attachments are compatible with a leftward head deviation. Mild arthritis of the atlantal-occipital and intervertebral joints, clinoid bridging, and thickening of the inner table of the frontal squamosa may not be related to the possible torticollis. The postural deviations of the head and neck may aid in the identification of this homicide victim, as did skeletal evidence of torticollis in an earlier case from Britain.