Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Complex Old World Origins Of First Americans Revealed In Analysis Of Prehistoric And Modern Skulls

Date:
February 22, 2000
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
Using morphometric comparisons of thousands of ancient and modern skulls, collected over a period of 20 years and containing new data from Mongolia that became accessible just last summer, U-M anthropolgists showed how the native inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere fit into several different groups based on craniofacial patterns.

Related Articles


ANN ARBOR --- Analyzing craniofacial measurements of old and new skulls from around the world, University of Michigan anthropologists have confirmed the complex origins of Native Americans that have been suggested by recent archeological and genetic studies.

In a seminar Friday (Feb. 18) on the initial peopling of the New World, held at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., U-M anthropology Prof. C. Loring Brace presented a craniofacial perspective on the origins of today's American Indians. Using morphometric comparisons of thousands of ancient and modern skulls, collected over a period of 20 years and containing new data from Mongolia that became accessible just last summer, Brace showed how the native inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere fit into several different groups based on craniofacial patterns.

For the analysis, Brace and colleagues compared a battery of two dozen measurements made on each skull to generate a "dendrogram," a tree-like figure in which the distance between the twigs reflects the closeness or distance between any given group and the others.

Their studies show that descendants of the first humans to enter the New World, including natives of Mexico, Peru, and the southern United States, have no obvious ties to any Asian groups. "This could be because they have been separated from their Asian sources for the longest period of time," says Brace. "We hope that new samples from Novosibirsk, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg, which we've recently been given permission to measure, will illuminate their origins."

A second group---including the Blackfoot, Iroquois, and other tribes from Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario, and Massachusetts---was descended from the Jomon, the prehistoric people of Japan. The Inuit appear to be a later branch from that same Jomon trunk. Tribal groups who lived down the eastern seaboard into Florida share this origin, according to Brace.

Another group, originating in China and including the Athabascan-speaking people from the Yukon drainage of Alaska and northwest Canada, spread as far south as Arizona and northern Mexico. "Their craniofacial configuration allies them more closely to the living Chinese than to any other population in either hemisphere," Brace notes.

To refine the linkages and identify the ultimate origins of these peoples, Brace emphasizes that additional analyses need to be performed, using new samples located in institutions in the former Soviet Union, from sites in Mongolia, Siberia, and Eurasia. These samples represent the remaining large block of the world not currently covered in any detail by the U-M Museum of Anthropology craniofacial database.

But he also makes it clear that one firm conclusion has already emerged. "The 'native' inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere are not all minor variants of the same people," he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "Complex Old World Origins Of First Americans Revealed In Analysis Of Prehistoric And Modern Skulls." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000218115259.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (2000, February 22). Complex Old World Origins Of First Americans Revealed In Analysis Of Prehistoric And Modern Skulls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000218115259.htm
University Of Michigan. "Complex Old World Origins Of First Americans Revealed In Analysis Of Prehistoric And Modern Skulls." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000218115259.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gallery Takes Two Years to Carefully Repair Hole Punched in $12 Million Monet

Gallery Takes Two Years to Carefully Repair Hole Punched in $12 Million Monet

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) An Irish art gallery details the extensive surgery a priceless Monet underwent after being punched by some crazy Irish guy. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
India Clears Cows, Dogs, Dust for Obama Taj Mahal Trip

India Clears Cows, Dogs, Dust for Obama Taj Mahal Trip

AFP (Jan. 23, 2015) Preparations are under way at the Taj Mahal ahead of a visit by Barack and Michelle Obama. Duration: 01:11 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lincoln Collection to Be Auctioned in Dallas

Lincoln Collection to Be Auctioned in Dallas

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Hundreds of pieces of Lincoln memorabilia collected by a Fort Worth, Texas businessman are set to be auctioned this weekend. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Phones Used 100 Years Ago on Display

Phones Used 100 Years Ago on Display

AP (Jan. 22, 2015) The phones used to make the world&apos;s first coast-to-coast conference call 100 years ago have been put on display at the California Historical Society&apos;s 1915 World&apos;s Fair exhibit space in San Francisco. (Jan. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins