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biological diversity through analysis of discrete cranial traits

Characterization of biological diversity through analysis of discrete cranial traits
Tsunehiko Hanihara et al.
(to appear in American Journal of Physical Anthroopology)

Abstract

In the present study, the frequency distributions of 20 discrete cranial traits in 70 major human populations from around the world were analyzed. The principal-coordinate and neighbor-joining analyses of Smith's mean measure of divergence (MMD), based on trait frequencies, indicate that 1) the clustering pattern is similar to those based on classic genetic markers, DNA polymorphisms, and craniometrics; 2) significant interregional separation and intraregional diversity are present in Subsaharan Africans; 3) clinal relationships exist among regional groups; 4) intraregional discontinuity exists in some populations inhabiting peripheral or isolated areas. For example, the Ainu are the most distinct outliers of the East Asian populations. These patterns suggest that founder effects, genetic drift, isolation, and population structure are the primary causes of regional variation in discrete cranial traits. Our results are compatible with a single origin for modern humans as well as the multiregional model, similar to the results of Relethford and Harpending ([[1994]] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 95:249-270). The results presented here provide additional measures of the morphological variation and diversification of modern human populations. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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