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

Spatial variation in the cranial morphology of the Portuguese


Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Clemson University

Saturday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

This study examines the relationship between craniofacial morphology and spatial variation in the Portuguese. A sample from the New Lisbon skeletal collection, an identified cemetery sample with birth dates ranging from the early 1800s to the mid 1900s was used in this study. Place of birth information was available for 322 individuals. Sixteen of the 18 administrative districts were represented in the sample. Three-dimensional cranial landmark coordinates were collected from individuals with known places of birth. Canonical variates analysis was use to examine the spatial structure by administrative district. The latitudes and longitudes for the district capitals were used in a multivariate regression analysis to examine the significance of the relationship between geography and craniometrics. Geographic and phenotypic distances were compared using a Mantel test between the Procrustes distance and geographic distance matrices. In order to control for temporal effects partial tests of both location and year of birth were examined. The results demonstrate that the craniometric data accurately reflects the spatial structure of the sample. A plot of the first two principal components demonstrates a North-South gradient to the variation. The results of the Mantel test confirm a significant relationship between the Procrustes distance matrix and the geographic distance matrix. Portugal is a small country with no extreme environments such as high altitudes or extreme cold; therefore it seems unlikely that the spatial variation reflects environmental adaptation or natural selection. Instead the spatial variation likely reflects the unique genetic history of the country.

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