Tag Archives: crania

Hanihara: Characterization of Biological Diversity Through Analysis of Discrete Cranial Traits

This is a 2003 publication showing the relationship of the worlds populations by studying the crania. This paper says that both multiregional and the out of Africa scenario are possible from these results. As can be seen on the dendrogram, the Egyptian samples (Gizeh and Naqada) are on the North African twig along with the Nubians, which are themselves very close to the European cluster, which supports the Loring Brace study showing ancient Egyptians as being non-similar to Sub Saharan Africans. In fact a look at all the diagrams shows Hanihara grouping the ancient North Africans closer to west Eyurasian groups.

The only downer is that modern North Africans aren’t included on this.



I’ve added colour to the diagrams as they are a little hard to make out if you have poor sight. Sub Saharan is red (Somalis have a black dot inside) and Europeans are blue, North African samples are bright green, and South Asian are violet.

Characterization of Biological Diversity Through Analysis of Discrete Cranial Traits
Tsunehiko Hanihara,1* Hajime Ishida,2 and Yukio Dodo3, 2003

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.

East Asians
1. Japanese 98–108 (94) 62–64 (59) Tokyo and Tohoku (Northern Japan) regions (UT, TU)
2. Hokkaido Ainu 122–151 (113) 84–108 (76) Recent Ainu people (SMU, UT)
3. Sakhalin in Ainu 62–65 (54) 28–29 (32) Southern Sakhalin (MAE, MSU, KU, MH)
4. North Chinese 132–139 (75) 26–27 (14) Mainly from Liaoning Prefecture (UT, KU) Southeast Asians
5. Myanmar 132–135 (48) 47–49 (3) Recent Burmese (NHM, UC)
6. Mainland SE Asians 125–141 (105) 41–43 (30) Thai, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Malay (NHM, UC, MH)
7. Javanese 94–97 (83) 32–26 (32) Greater Sunda islands (NHM, UC, MH, AMNH)
8. Philippines 135–144 (49) 62–66 (31) Non-Negrito Filipinos (NHM, UC, MH)
9. Borneans 78–109 (74) 37–40 (21) Mainly land Dayaks (NHM, UC, MH)
10. Lesser Sunda 52–54 (39) 11–12 (6) Timor, Bali, Sumbawa, Flores, and Celebes Islands (NHM, UC, MH, AMNH)
11. Andamanese/Nicobarese 65–71 (43) 40–43 (30) Andaman Negritos and Nicobar Islands (NHM, UC, MH)
Northeast Asians
12. Mongolians 116–121 (69) 53–59 (38) Ulan Bator (Urga) and other regions (MH, NMNH, AMNH)
13. Buryats 76–81 (65) 64–69 (58) From Northeast Siberia (MAE, MH, NMNH)
14. Amur Basin 85–92 (57) 67–74 (48) Ulchs, Nanaians, Negidals, Nivkhs, and Orochs (MAE, MSU, MH)
15. Neolithic Baikalians 40–59 (45) 14–22 (19) From around Lake Baikal (MAE, MSU, ISU)
16. Yakuts 43–45 (38) 19–20 (18) From Northeast Siberia (MAE, MSU, MH) Arctic
17. Ekvens 45–55 (48) 49–56 (44) Iron-Age people from Ekven site, Chukot Peninsula (MSU)
18. Chukchis 43–48 (17) 22–26 (10) From Arctic region of Northeast Siberia (MAE, MSU, MH, NMNH, AMNH)
19. Aleuts 63–67 (48) 30–43 (17) Mainly from Unalaska Island (NMNH, AMNH)
20. Asian Eskimos 66–73 (48) 53–59 (16) From Arctic region of Northeast Siberia (MAE, MSU)
21. Greenland Eskimos 82–85 (47) 70–76 (25) West Coast of Greenland (NHM, UC, MH, AMNH, NMNH)
New World
22. Northwest Coast 53–59 (15) 29–35 (12) Northwest Coast of Canada (NHM, UC)
23. Northwest America 48–61 (40) 19–24 (16) Plateau, Great Basin, California, and Southwest Cultural
areas (NHM, UC, MH)
24. Northeast America 42–50 (20) 21–29 (8) Great Plains, Northeast, and Southeast Cultural areas
25. Central America 45–58 (21) 24–30 (12) Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Carib, Venezuela, and Guyana
26. Peruvians 115–123 (60) 55–60 (33) Cerro del Oro, Huacho, Pisagua, etc. (NHM)
27. Fuegians/Patagonians 39–44 (24) 20–23 (7) Terra del Fuego and Patagonia region (NHM, UC, MH)
28. Mariana 91–120 (82) 70–93 (75) Guam, Saipan, and Tinian (BM, MH) Polynesians
29. Hawaii 82 (58) 63–64 (42) Mainly from Oahu Island (NHM, UC)
30. Easter 63–79 (41) 59–71 (31) Easter Islanders (NHM, UC, MH, AM, US, SAM)
31. Marquesas 55–61 (24) 39–42 (9) Mainly from Uahuka Island (NHM, MH)
32. Maori 109–140 (58) 37–49 (23) New Zealand (NHM, UC, AM, US, SAM)
33. Moriori 66–78 (24) 18–20 (6) Chatham Islands (NHM, UC, AM, US) Melanesians
34. Papua New Guinea 54–175 (84) 51–154 (83) Purari River delta, Fly River delta, Sepik River Delta, etc.
35. Torres Strait 59–65 (37) 35–38 (37) Island of Torres Strait (NHM, UC, MH)
36. North Melanesians 64–196 (119) 41–103 (72) New Ireland, New Britain, Solomon, and Santa Cruz (NHM,
37. South Melanesians 58–137 (67) 27–57 (33) Loyalty, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji (NHM, UC, AM,
38. East Australians 53–88 (55) 33–46 (36) New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria (AM, NHM, UC, MH, AMNH)
39. South/West Australians 86–260 (159) 34–128 (77) South Australia and Western Australia (SAM, NHM, UC, MH, AMNH)
Tibet/Nepal/Northeast India
40. Tibetans/Nepalese 91–94 (58) 23–25 (4) Tibetan Soldiers (19th Century), lowland of Nepal (NHM,
41. Assam/Sikkim 40–41 (30) 23–24 (19) Darjeeling, Assam, and Sikkim districts (NHM)
South Asians
42. Northeast India 90–93 (61) 23–24 (14) Bengal and Bihar districts (NHM)
43. South India 123–127 (65) 45–46 (30) Madras, Tamil Natu, Malabar Coast, and Karnataka (NHM)
44. Northwest India 125–131 (71) 32–35 (16) Punjab and Kashmir districts (NHM)
Central Asians
45. Tagars 62–72 (44) 60–76 (50) Iron-Age Tagar culture (MAE, MSU)
46. Kazakhs 75–77 (75) 42–43 (42) From Central Asia, Kazakh (MAE)
47. Russians 72–74 (74) 45–47 (41) Recent Russians (NHM, UC, MAE, MSU)
48. Greece 46–54 (20) 12–16 (4) Ancient and recent Greece (NHM)
49. Eastern Europeans 80–98 (52) 18–24 (16) Slav group: Poland, Czecho, Hergegovina, Bulgaria, and
Yugoslavia (NHM)
50. Italy 131–146 (82) 42–47 (31) Recent Italians (NHM)
51. Finland/Ural 72–75 (35) 5–6 (2) Including a few samples of Ural-language people (NHM, MH)
52. Scandinavia 57–60 (30) 5 (3) Norwegians and Swedish (NHM, UC)
53. Germany 58–61 (44) 9–10 (7) Recent German (NHM, UC)
54. France 74–86 (23) 18–21 (0) Recent French (NHM, UC, MH)
UK series
55. Ensay 64–68 (58) 29–30 (30) Late Medieval to post-Medieval periods, Scotland (NHM)
56. Poundbury 97–109 (106) 46–52 (47) Late Roman period, Southwest England (NHM)
57. Spitalfields-1 122–135 (121) 104–113 (106) Mid-Victorian, London (NHM)
58. Spitalfields-2 73–74 (75) 17–19 (35) Pre-17th century, London (UC)
North Africans
59. Naqada 82–87 (57) 89–93 (39) Predynastic Egypt, ca. 5,000–4,000 BP (UC)
60. Gizeh 122–125 (91) 46–51 (32) 26th–30th Dynasty, Egypt, 664–343 BC (UC)
61. Kerma 114–132 (58) 79–92 (51) 12th–13th Dynasty of Nubia (UC)
62. Nubia 86–92 (39) 42–47 (9) Early Christian or Christian date Nubia (UC)
Subsaharan Africans
63. Somalia 58–64 (53) 10–12 (5) Erigavo District, Ogaden Somali (US)
64. Nigeria-1 74–83 (72) 65–76 (53) Ibo tribe (NHM, UC)
65. Nigeria-2 73–80 (17) 46–53 (7) Ashanti tribe (NHM, UC)
66. Gabon 82–86 (47) 55–57 (36) Fernand Vaz River (NHM, NMNH)
67. Tanzania 69–75 (54) 20–25 (17) Haya tribe, Musira Island, Lake Victoria (UC, NHM)
68. Kenya 71–82 (31) 55–63 (10) Bantu-speaking people from Kenya (UC, NHM)
69. South Africa 100–109 (53) 21–25 (8) Zulu and once called Kaffir tribes (UC, NHM, AMNH)
70. Khoisans 43–36 (28) 17–22 (13) Bushmans and Hottentots (NHM, UC, AMNH)


Fig. 2. Two-dimensional scattergrams drawn by using first-second (a), second-third (b), and third-fourth (c) principal coordinates. Numbers correspond to sample numbers in Table 1


Useful info for reference!


Neolithic skull shapes and demic diffusion.

Neolithic skull shapes and demic diffusion> a bioarchaeological investigation into the nature of the Neolithic transition

Link broke, only HTML available!

ABSTRACT – There is a growing body of evidence that the spread of farming in Europe was not a single uniform process, but that it involved a complex set of processes such as demic diffusion, folk migration, frontier mobility, and leapfrog colonisation. Archaeogenetic studies, which examine contemporary geographical variations in the frequencies of various genetic markers have not succeeded in addressing the complex Neolithisation process at the required level of spatial and temporal resolution. Moreover, these studies are based on modern populations, and their interpretive genetic maps are often affected by post-Neolithic dispersals, migrations, and population movements in Eurasia. Craniometric studies may provide a solid link between the archaeological analysis of past events and their complex relationship to changes and fluctuations in corresponding morphological and thus biological variations. This paper focuses on the study of craniometric variations between and within Pre-Pottery Neolithic, Pottery Neolithic, and Early Neolithic specimens from the Near East, Anatolia and Europe. It addresses the meaning of the observed multivariate morphometric variations in the context of the spread of farming in Europe.

Fig. 2. Principal components analysis of craniometric measurements
of skulls from Early Neolithic sites.

This is another study that suggests an Anatolian center of dispersal for the Neolithic. It’s well worth a read if you are interested in the Natufians and other ancient farming groups from the neolithic. Interestingly, it observes that the Anatolians of Catal Hoyuk seem very different to thsoe of Cayonu.

Özdogan (1997) points out that the Neolithic communities of the Central Anatolian plateau form a distinct entity which differs from the south-eastern Anatolian, Levantine and Mesopotamian contemporaneous cultures in settlement pattern, architecture, lithic technology, bone tools, and other archaeological aspects. There is no simple corollary between specific cultural-archaeological entities and biological populations. However, in the case of the above analyses, the population of Çatahöyük differed biologically from the populations of the Near East and southeast Anatolia and were similar to the SKC and Nea Neikomediea cultures. Indeed in a previous publication (Pinhasi 2003), it was demonstrated that the Squared Mahalanobis Distance between Çatalhöyük and Çayönü is twice to three times the average distance between the former and any of the Early Neolithic southeast or central European Early Neolithic populations. The above analysis therefore confirms the archaeological observations made by Özdogan (1997) and reaffirms in this specific case a correspondence between cultural boundaries that define a prehistoric culture and its biological basis.

This would seem to support a population ‘boundry’, between the expanding Natufians (later Belbasi/Beldibi) with their moderate affinities to sub Saharan Africans, and the indigenous Eurasian people of Anatolia. It also states..

There are no grounds for believing that the settlement of mainland Greece, either by land or sea, can be compared with the slow movements of populations characteristic of the Cardial or Danubian ‘waves of advance’. On the contrary, it seems to relate to these long-distance expeditions, well exemplified in the Mediterranean by the colonisation of Crete, Corsica and the Balearic Iislands, for instance” (Perlès 2001).

However, the craniometric analysis indicates no morphological differences between Nea Nikomedeia and the Çatalhöyük populations, which contrasts with the differences between these and the PPN Levantine/ Anatolian samples.


It appears that a Neolithic dispersal from the Near East/Anatolia to Europe may have occurred at least twice: once as a PPN maritime expansion from the Levant/southern Anatolia, and later on during the Pottery Neolithic period as an overland dispersal from Central/Western Anatolia to southeast Europe (Perlés 2001; Özdogan 1997). This means that more than one founder Neolithic population dispersed out of the Near East/Anatolia to Europe, and that each
dispersal event must have left certain demographic and genetic signatures on modern Europeans.

Which supports other evidence from Franchthi and the cave of the Cyclops about sea colonisations from ancient Anatolia all through the Med (elsewhere on blog), with a slower overland colonisation following. That you have two very distinct populations present in Anatolia might explain how both Indo European and Afro Asiatic languages apparently expanded out from Turkey at about the same time (IE from the plateau Anatolians, and the Natufian derived AA speaking Southerners).

C.Loring Brace commented that all the sub Saharan traces vanished from the Levant about the time of the neolithic expansion, so it seems probable that the majority of the ancestry of the expanding wave of colonists was from the plateau Anatolians, not the Natufian’s descendants in the south.

Neanderthal skulls

Just a collection of images for the ‘folder’. Spot the odd one out!

Shanidar 1 (Iraq), and a 41,000-year-old Neanderthal woman found at Tabun in Israel.

Male Neanderthal skull from La Chapelle aux Saints, France, dated to about 60,000 BP, and a male skull from Skhul

Male skull from Amud, Israel, and from le Moustier in France.

La Ferrassie France, 70,000 BP, repro of the 9 year old child from Teshik-Tash.

The odd one out is…

 Skhul 5, an archaic modern human. Hard to tell apart aren’t they?