Basques in an Indo-European sea: a perspective from tooth crown morphology.

Basques in an Indo-European sea: a perspective from tooth crown morphology.
G.R. Scott1, K.A. Hopkinson1, C. de la Rua2, A. Anta2. 1Department of Anthropology, University of  Nevada Reno, 2 Departamento de Genética, Antropología Física y Fisiología Animal, Universidad del Pais Vasco.

Basques represent one of the few non-Indo-European populations in Europe. Ruhlen proposed a distant  linguistic relationship between Basque and the Caucasian, Sino- Tibetan, and Na-Dene language families.  Dentally, the first
language family is distinctly European while populations of the latter two exhibit Sinodonty. Some authors suggest Basques are the descendents of Upper Paleolithic peoples of Western Europe. Genetically, they have a high frequency of the Rh allele (r) and a low frequency of blood group B. Such differences set the Basques apart from their neighbors, but they still group with Europeans in world genetic analyses, suggesting a common origin but one with some time depth.

Little is known of Basque tooth morphology and size. To partially remedy this situation, observations were made on 29 crown traits in modern Basque and Spanish samples. We did not find any noteworthy differences in crown trait frequencies between Basques and either Spaniards or Europeans in general. Basques exhibit no incisor winging and low frequencies of shoveling, double shoveling, 3-cusped upper second molars, cusp 5, and cusp 7. Compared to Europeans, they exhibit fewer cusp forms of Carabelli’s trait and a higher frequency of deflecting wrinkle. The frequencies of four-cusped lower molars mirror almost exactly the frequencies of European populations. In a world-wide analysis, Basques cluster with Europeans although they separate at a higher level in the dendrogram. This does not, however, preclude a linkage between Basques and
Upper Paleolithic groups who also exhibit the dental pattern that sets Europeans apart from other world populations.

From today’s pdf. Not my specialist area, but Maju will probably like it.

One response to “Basques in an Indo-European sea: a perspective from tooth crown morphology.

  1. Well, what is already known: Basques are 100% (or 90-much%) Europeans, very probably of Paleolithic ascendant. Other Europeans may have more or less admixture levels. Rh-, R1b and other genes (and phenotypes, like narrow jaws and impacted wisdom teeth) dominant among Basques are also dominant, to a lesser extent, among other Europeans or Western Europeans (especially). Blood type B is an Asian/Eastern European trait, decreasing sharply towards Western Europe, much like R1a.

    The Sino-Dené-Caucasian-Basque superfamily is a fantasy. There might be a most distant connection between Vasco-Iberian and Eastern Caucasian-Hurro-Urarto-Sumerian, each one representing the remnants of western and eastern Gravettian languages. This is my own hypothesis and admittedly is just that. It is most unlikely that these ancient West Eurasian languages can be linked to East Asian ones.

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