Klippel-Feil Syndrome: morphological findings in a 19th-century musealized skull from Viana del Bollo (Orense, Spain)


  • Jesús Herrerín Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Departamento de Biología, Unidad de Antropología Física, Madrid, Spain image/svg+xml https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5175-4385
  • Enrique Dorado Sección de Antropología Forense, Instituto de Medicina Legal de Madrid, Madrid, Spain https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1137-2016
  • Francesco M. Galassi FAPAB Research Center, Avola (SR), Sicily, Italy; Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland; Archaeology, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia image/svg+xml https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8902-3142
  • Elena Varotto FAPAB Research Center, Avola (SR), Sicily, Italy; Archaeology, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia image/svg+xml https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6637-9402
  • Rosa Dinarès Solà Hospital General de Catalunya, Spain image/svg+xml




Olóriz collection, Klippel-Feil syndrome, atlanto-occipital fusion, basilar impression, facial asymmetry, enlarged parietal foramina


The aim of this study is to show the cranial alterations that Klippel-Feil syndrome produced in a case older than 200 years. Few paleopathological case studies diagnosed as Klippel-Feil Syndrome are focused on cranial abnormalities. A skull numbered 778, belonging to the Federico Olóriz Aguilera collection (Spain, 19th century AD), Universidad Complutense de Madrid, belonging to a young man born in a town in the North of Spain, was investigated. This cranium was visually inspected, hence macroscopically and paleoradiologically studied, using the images obtained through conventional radiology and CT scan imaging. In addition to the vertebral fusion between the atlas (C1) and the axis (C2), atlanto-occipital fusion, basilar impression, obliteration of the sagittal suture, enlarged parietal foramina and significant craniofacial asymmetry affecting maxillary bones, sphenoid, orbits, nasal bones and both palatines were observed. Morphological findings make it possible to diagnose a Klippel-Feil syndrome, possibly type-II, although the lack of the rest of the spinal column renders it impossible to verify other spinal anomalies. As a limitation, only the cranium and two cervical vertebrae were preserved, hence the possible involvement of the rest of the skeleton cannot be verified.


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How to Cite

Herrerín, J., Dorado, E., Galassi, F. M., Varotto, E., & Solà, R. D. (2022). Klippel-Feil Syndrome: morphological findings in a 19th-century musealized skull from Viana del Bollo (Orense, Spain). Anthropological Review, 85(2), 63–78. https://doi.org/10.18778/1898-6773.85.2.03