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

Cervicometrics and intra-Iberomaurusian phenotypic variability


School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University

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Taforalt (16,750 BP) and Afalou-bou-Rhummel (ca.12,500-10,500 BP) remain two of the most important sites for understanding the Late Pleistocene Iberomaurusian period in northwest Africa. Analyses of the human skeletal remains from both locations have been applied to questions of Iberomaurusian population origins, population transitions and continuity, and population affinities. Here, we explore the question of Iberomaurusian intra-populational homogeneity using cervicometrics collected from permanent observable dentition from Taforalt (n=66) and Afalou (n=61). This approach maximizes sample size, while minimizing the effects of attrition, craniofacial dysmorphia, and ontogenetic plasticity.

Initial results based on standard deviations and F-tests are mixed. For mesio-distal dimensions, Afalou shows greater variability of the posterior maxillary dentition than Taforalt. However, Taforalt shows greater variability of the posterior mandibular dentition than Afalou. In contrast, Taforalt has greater variability in bucco-lingual dimensions than Afalou for both posterior maxillary and mandibular dentition. These differences were statistically significant (p=0.05). No significant differences were detected for the anterior dentition, regardless of dimension. Such results appear to mirror those based on dental morphology (Irish 2000). Therefore, we conclude that caution must be exercised when combining these two sites for larger studies of biodistance, and that further studies of intra-sample variability should be performed in order to better understand population structure for this region and time period.

This work was supported by the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (GR7747) and the National Science Foundation (0820805, 0636066).

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