An Odontometric Investigation of Canary Islander Origins

An Odontometric Investigation of Canary Islander Origins 2004

Joel D. Irish* and Brian E. Hemphill** *Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK 99775.*Department of Sociology & Anthropology, California State University, Bakersfield, CA 93311

ABSTRACT Attempts by anthropologists to account for the peopling of the Canary Islands have led to theories that call for one, two, and even four immigration events. However, most agree the Canary Island Guanche are biologically closest to Berbers from Morocco and Algeria. Genetic contributions from Arabs, Romans, and Carthaginians have also been proposed. An earlier study by Irish using Penrose analysis of odontometric data in samples of Guanche, Shawia and Kabyle Berbers, and Bedouin Arabs supports many of these proposed genetic relationships. The present investigation expands upon this earlier work by adding samples of Carthaginians, Egyptians, and Nubians, and by using tooth size apportionment analysis, a more robust statistical approach for assessing inter-sample differences in the distribution, or allocation, of tooth size in the maxillary and mandibular dental arcades. The analysis yielded three components that account for >80% of the total variance. Cluster analysis and three-dimensional ordination of group component scores provide additional insight into Canary Island/North African relationships. Except for one early Nubian sample, the Guanche exhibit some measure of affinity to all others. However, they are most like Berbers and Carthaginians. These results suggest that Canary Islanders belong to a greater North African gene pool, yet show the closest affinities to Northwest Africans—which corroborates earlier dental and nondental findings.

Something published a  few years ago that I finally located the text for. The conclusion isn’t exactly a surprise; that Canary Islanders were part of the north African population as ADNA has shown that already. Its not surprising to see Lower Nubians also grouping with the North Africans for teeth, as this was true generally for mDNA and cranial shape, although it shows much more distance to the upper Nubian Soleb sample (18th Dynasty Pharonic Nubians, 1575-1380 BC). It says ‘The Soleb sample is characterized by the largest teeth of all samples, as well as broad buccolingual anterior tooth diameters and large mandibular molars relative to the  to the maxillary counterparts’ which I believe would make them more typical of sub Saharan  Africans (dentition is not my strong point).

The conlusion..

First, the Canary Island Guanche show closest dental affinities to Northwest Africans, relative to other samples of various ages. Second, the pattern of phenetic affinities possessed by the Guanche suggest that some degree of biological relatedness extends beyond the adjacent mainland to Nubians and Egyptians in Northeast Africa.

 The pdf also has on it ‘An Artificial Human Tooth from the Neolithic Cemetery at Gebel Ramlah, Egypt’ by Irish.


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