The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

A comparison of craniometric and molecular data from North and Central Mexico


1Anthropology, Texas State University at San Marcos, 2Anthropology, Texas State University at San Marcos

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Previous research has shown that craniometric data provide a proxy for molecular data (Relethford, 2001; Roseman, 2004) and that it is somewhat shaped by gene flow (Relethford 2004). Previous research on admixture frequencies suggests that complex population histories resulting from differential admixture account for complex biological variation found throughout Mexico (Merriwether et al. 1997, Juarez-Cedillo et al. 2008). The purpose of this study is to test whether or not craniometric data is reflective of molecular data and can be used to help interpret population history for archaeological groups representing North and Central Mexico.

Craniometric data were obtained from Sonora, Michoácan, and Tlanepantla groups, dating between AD 1200 and 1500 (Beekman and Christensen, 2003) and curated at the American Museum of Natural History. Molecular data were obtained that best approximated the craniometric data population groups, including the Tarahumara, Purépecha, and the Otomi. Allele distributions from six Y-linked STR’s in the Tarahumara and Purepécha populations were obtained from previously published data (Rangel-Villalobos et al. 2008). Allele distributions from the same six Y-linked STR’s in the Otomi population were also studied (Barrot et al. 2007). MtDNA haplogroup frequencies from the same populations, Tarahumara, Purépecha, and Otomi, were used as well (Peñaloza-Espinosa et al. 2007). Distances matrices for the molecular data were obtained in the Kship program (Jantz, no date) and the craniometric distance matrix obtained in Rmet (Relethford, 2003). A mantel test using NTSYSpc (Applied Biostatistics Inc, 1986-2000) indicates a high and significant correlation between the three types of data.

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