The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

An Investigation of Craniometric Variation in Paleoamericans from Different Continents


Anthropology, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Thursday Afternoon, 301E Add to calendar

The composition of craniometric samples utilized in Paleoamerican research plays an important role in the development of migration models and theories. Many previously proposed theories were developed with data skewed towards one of the American continents; yet conclusions are often made encompassing the entire New World.

The purpose of this poster is to investigate the craniometric relationships of a Paleoamerican sample, including individuals from North, Central and South America, in order to assess the appropriateness of a pooled Paleoamerican sample in modeling migration scenarios.

A sample of 33 crania, with published dates of 7000 years BP or older, were investigated. 18, shared cranial measurements were utilized. Cranial variation was analyzed through the calculation of Mahalanobis distances between each pair of crania. A principal coordinate analysis was used to visualize the general patterns of relationships among the crania.

The distance relationships among the Paleoamerican crania suggest a separation between the South American and North and Central American specimens with few exceptions. The North Americans have two loose groupings. In addition, several North and Central American crania can be considered the most distinctive within the overall sample. There does not appear to be distinct differences among the South American specimens from different areas and sites, suggesting pooling these specimens may be appropriate.

The heterogeneity among the complete Paleoamerican sample makes it inadvisable to pool them into one large group. Further analysis of why these differences exist may be of interest in modeling the first migration(s) into the Americas.

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