Vertebral neural canal (VNC) dimensions are considered a reliable indicator of childhood stress; however, no study has characterized variation in VNC or shape or the impact of extrinsic or intrinsic fact on their range of variation, so the current study explored VNC dimensions of subadult samples varying in chronology, population of origin, geography, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The study found that AP diameter growth ends during childhood, while TR diameter growth progressively slows before ending in adolescence. The Colombian sample presented the smallest VNC diameters compared to the other contemporary and historic samples. VNC shape (AP/TR ratio) was similar in contemporary samples. MANOVAs and ANOVAs revealed significant differences in VNC size according to country of origin and socio-economic status, primarily differentiating the Colombian sample. The overall consistency in size and shape among groups is remarkable. While physiological stress may contribute to variability in VNC size, intrinsic ontogenetic processes and other individual and environmental factors also influence variability in VNC size. (Publisher abstract provided)