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.

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 July 29, 2014 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 July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Did ISIS Destroy Jonah's Tomb?

Did ISIS Destroy Jonah's Tomb?

Newsy (July 25, 2014) Unverified footage posted to YouTube purportedly shows ISIS militants destroying a shrine widely believed to be the tomb of the prophet Jonah. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Richard III's Car Park Burial Site Opens to Public

Richard III's Car Park Burial Site Opens to Public

AFP (July 25, 2014) Visitors will be able to look down from a glass walkway on the grave of King Richard III when a new centre opens in the English cathedral city of Leicester, where the infamous hunchback was found under a car park in 2012. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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