Tag Archives: Craniofacial measurements

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!

Post-Pleistocene diachronic change in East Asian facial skeletons

Post-Pleistocene diachronic change in East Asian facial skeletons: the size, shape and volume of the orbits.


Abstract Globally there was a reduction in the size and robusticity of the human orofacial skeleton and dentition after the Pleistocene. There was also diachronic change in brain size and skeletal mass in general. Anthropologists have developed numerous models in  explanation of the evolutionary process, with the majority linked to the cultural developments of the Neolithic. These cultural models are challenged by the skeletal evidence from societies with contrasting culture histories. In China there is a reduction in facial breadth, height and prognathism, posterior tooth size, brain volume and cranial robusticity from the Neolithic to the modern period. However, the height of the orbits increases rather than decreases. Examination of the structural relationships between orbit and facial dimensions in Tohoku Japanese and Australian Aboriginal crania suggests a steady reduction in orbit volume in China. This may have resulted in a more anterior placement of the eyeball and associated structures in modern East Asians than in their Neolithic counterparts.

Figure 2. Diachronic change in the average size and shape characteristics of Chinese male facial skeletons, 6,000 BP to modern. Solid arrows indicate areas of facial reduction, hollow arrows expansion.

Frontal and Facial Flatness of Major Human Populations

Frontal and Facial Flatness of Major Human Populations

Department of Anatomy, Saga Medical School, Saga 849-8501, Japan

In the present study, the frontal and facial features of 112 populations from around the world are compared in terms of frontal and facial flatness measurements. Univariate analyses and canonical correlation analysis were applied to six indices representing flatness of frontal and facial bones. The deep infraglabellar notch, marked prognathism, and flat frontal bone show distinctive Australian/Melanesian characters among recent populations. Very flat faces in the transverse plane are the most common condition in eastern Asians. Some subSaharan Africans share similar characteristics with Australians in terms of marked prognathism and flat frontal bones in the sagittal plane on the one hand, and with eastern Asians on the other hand, for flat nasal and zygomaxillary regions. These results are not necessarily inconsistent with the evidence for regional continuity. The examination of relationships between frontal and facial flatness through canonical correlation analysis reveals a significant association between morphological features such as a deep infraglabellar notch, prognathism, flat frontal bone, and flat faces in the transverse plane. In this context, together with the generalized features of the late Pleistocene fossil record, the features of Australians having transversely projecting faces and of eastern Asians showing weak  infraglabellar notchs, ortho-/mosognathism, and rounded frontal bones can be interpreted as a differential retention of ancestral traits of anatomically modern humans. This may allow us to suppose that the frontal and facial flatness features treated herein can be explained by the hypothesis of a single origin of anatomically modern humans. Am J Phys Anthropol 111:105–134,

Just a reference link.

Variability of the Upper Palaeolithic skulls from Předmostí

Variability of the Upper Palaeolithic skulls from Předmostí near Přerov (Czech Republic): Craniometric comparison with recent human standards

J. Velemínskáa, , , J. Brůžekb, c, P. Velemínskýd, L. Bigonia, A. Šefčákováe and S. Katinaf

One of the largest skeletal series of the Upper Palaeolithic period from Předmostí was destroyed during the Second World War, but the study of this material continues up to the present. The discovery of Matiegka’s original photographic documentation on glass plates [Velemínská et al., 2004. The use of recently re-discovered glass plate photo-documentation of those human fossil finds from Předmostí u Přerova destroyed during World War II. J. Nat. Mus. Nat. Hist. Ser. 173, 129–132] gives an opportunity to perform a new and detailed craniometric analysis of five adult skulls in their lateral projection.

The craniometric data were analysed using specialised Craniometrics software, and the analysis included morphological and dimensional comparisons with current Central European norms. The aim of the study was not only to monitor the skull shape as a whole, but predominantly, to evaluate the size and shape of various parts of the splanchnocranium.

The Upper Palaeolithic skulls are significantly longer, and male skulls are also higher than the current norms. The crania of anatomically modern humans are characterised by two general structural features: mid-lower facial retraction and neurocranial globularity. The height of the face of the Palaeolithic skulls corresponds to that of the current Central European population. The face has a markedly longer mandibular body (3–4 SD), while female mandibular rami are shorter. The skulls are further characterised by a smaller gonial angle, the increased steepness of the mandibular ramus, and the greater angle of the chin. These changes in the size and shape associated with anterior rotation of the face produce a strong protrusion of both jaws, but the sagittal inter-maxillary relationships remain unchanged. The observed facial morphology is similar to the Czech Upper Palaeolithic skulls from Dolní Věstonice.

This study confirms the main diachronic changes between skulls of Upper Palaeolithic and present-day human populations.

It seems the ancient Europeans had big strong jaws. I have an example of one of the skulls here…

Morphological affinities of the earliest known American


 Walter A. Neves1, Joseph F. Powell2, Andre Prous3, Erik G. Ozolins2 and Max Blum1 


Several studies concerning the extra-continental morphological affinities of Paleo-Indian skeletons, carried out independently in South and North America, have indicated that the Americas were first occupied by non-Mongoloids that made their way to the New World through the Bering Strait in ancient times. The first South Americans show a clear resemblance to modern South Pacific and African populations, while the first North Americans seem to be at an unresolved morphological position between modern South Pacific and Europeans. In none of these analyses the first Americans show any resemblance to either northeast Asians or modern native Americans. So far, these studies have included affirmed and putative early skeletons thought to date between 8,000 and 10,000 years B.P. In this work the extra-continental morphological affinities of a Paleo-Indian skeleton well dated between 11,000 and 11,500 years B.P. (Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1, or “Luzia”) is investigated, using as comparative samples Howells’ (1989) world-wide modern series and Habgood’s (1985) Old World Late Pleistocene fossil hominids. The comparison between Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1 and Howells’ series was based on canonical variate analysis, including 45 size-corrected craniometric variables, while the comparison with fossil hominids was based on principal component analysis, including 16 size-corrected variables. In the first case, Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1 exhibited an undisputed morphological affinity firstly with Africans and secondly with South Pacific populations. In the second comparison, the earliest known American skeleton had its closest similarities with early Australians, Zhoukoudian Upper Cave 103, and Taforalt 18. The results obtained clearly confirm the idea that the Americas were first colonized by a generalized Homo sapiens population which inhabited East Asia in the Late Pleistocene, before the definition of the classic Mongoloid morphology.

A study of Paleo Indians population affinites; again not supporting the single mongoloid origin of modern native Americans. I have to say, I find the idea of a Paleo African colonisation easier to swallow than a Paleo Australoid colonisation. An ocean crossing would be a lot easier across the South Atlantic , and a lucky early colonisation would be possible from Africa. I suppose the next step would be to try to sequence DNA from these old remains. If they’ve been in a cave with a stable temperature, there’s a sporting chance they could retreive some.


However, the resemblence to modern Africans probably isn’t significant, it’s the resemblence to the paleo- populations that’s important. See above.

Temporal variation in prehistoric Nubian crania

Temporal variation in prehistoric Nubian crania
David S. Carlson
Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Much of the earlier work on the prehistory of Sudanese Nubia has emphasized discontinuity between early Nubian populations. However, recent investigations suggest the converse – that a remarkable degree of cultural and biological continuity exists among indigenous Nubian groups, perhaps as far back as the Paleolithic. Thus, cultural and biological differences between Nubian populations can be most effectively perceived as the result of in situ evolutionary development.
The present analysis has two major purposes: (1) to describe the morphological differences in the craniofacial complex between indigenous Nubian populations extending from the A-Group (c. 3,400 B.C.) through the Christian (c. 1,500 A.D.) horizons; and (2) to account for these differences within an evolutionary framework. The multiple discriminant analysis of radiographically derived variables revealed a trend from a substantially lower and more elongated cranial vault to a shorter and taller vault throughout the almost 5,000 year time span. Associated with this pattern was a tendency for the face to become more inferiorly-posteriorly located with respect to the vault in the latter groups. Finally, the masseter and temporalis muscles underwent a reduction and slight relocation through time. We speculate that this trend may be associated with behavioral changes associated with transition from a hunting and gathering to a totally agricultural subsistence pattern.

Neanderthals varied in appearance across Europe.

Paleobiology and comparative morphology of a late Neandertal sample from El Sidrón, Asturias, Spain

Fossil evidence from the Iberian Peninsula is essential for understanding Neandertal evolution and history. Since 2000, a new sample ≈43,000 years old has been systematically recovered at the El Sidrón cave site (Asturias, Spain). Human remains almost exclusively compose the bone assemblage. All of the skeletal parts are preserved, and there is a moderate occurrence of Middle Paleolithic stone tools. A minimum number of eight individuals are represented, and ancient mtDNA has been extracted from dental and osteological remains. Paleobiology of the El Sidrón archaic humans fits the pattern found in other Neandertal samples: a high incidence of dental hypoplasia and interproximal grooves, yet no traumatic lesions are present. Moreover, unambiguous evidence of human-induced modifications has been found on the human remains. Morphologically, the El Sidrón humans show a large number of Neandertal lineage-derived features even though certain traits place the sample at the limits of Neandertal variation. Integrating the El Sidrón human mandibles into the larger Neandertal sample reveals a north–south geographic patterning, with southern Neandertals showing broader faces with increased lower facial heights. The large El Sidrón sample therefore augments the European evolutionary lineage fossil record and supports ecogeographical variability across Neandertal populations

Essentially..  The skeletal remains also revealed that these Neanderthals possessed a different bone structure than individuals found elsewhere in Europe. It appears that Neanderthals fell into at least two basic ethnic groups that coincided with their north-south geographical distribution.
Southern Neanderthals from the Iberian Peninsula, the Balkans, the Middle East and Italy had broader and shorter faces than northern Neanderthals from populations living north of the Pyrenees, the Alps, portions of Asia and central and eastern Europe, Rosas and his team determined.

 So, similar to the way modern Europeans vary from North to South.

The earliest modern European skulls.

Peştera cu Oase 2 and the cranial morphology of early modern Europeans

Between 2003 and 2005, the Peştera cu Oase, Romania yielded a largely complete early modern human cranium, Oase 2, scattered on the surface of a Late Pleistocene hydraulically displaced bone bed containing principally the remains of Ursus spelaeus. Multiple lines of evidence indicate an age of ≈40.5 thousand calendar years before the present (≈35 ka 14C B.P.). Morphological comparison of the adolescent Oase 2 cranium to relevant Late Pleistocene human samples documents a suite of derived modern human and/or non-Neandertal features, including absence of a supraorbital torus, subrectangular orbits, prominent canine fossae, narrow nasal aperture, level nasal floor, angled and anteriorly oriented zygomatic bones, a high neurocranium with prominent parietal bosses and marked sagittal parietal curvature, superiorly positioned temporal zygomatic root, vertical auditory porous, laterally bulbous mastoid processes, superiorly positioned posterior semicircular canal, absence of a nuchal torus and a suprainiac fossa, and a small occipital bun. However, these features are associated with an exceptionally flat frontal arc, a moderately large juxtamastoid eminence, extremely large molars that become progressively larger distally, complex occlusal morphology of the upper third molar, and relatively anteriorly positioned zygomatic arches. Moreover, the featureless occipital region and small mastoid process are at variance with the large facial skeleton and dentition. This unusual mosaic in Oase 2, some of which is paralleled in the Oase 1 mandible, indicates both complex population dynamics as modern humans dispersed into Europe and significant ongoing human evolution once modern humans were established within Europe.

Just a C Loring Brace paper mentioning the neolithic expansion.

Clines and Clusters Versus “Race:” A Test in Ancient Egypt and the Case of a Death on the Nile

The biological affinities of the ancient Egyptians were tested against their neighbors and selected prehistoric groups as well as against samples representing the major geographic population clusters of the world. Two dozen craniofacial measurements were taken on each individual used. The raw measurements were converted into C scores and used to produce Euclidean distance dendrograms. The measurements were principally of adaptively trivial traits that display patterns of regional similarities based solely on genetic relationships. The Predynastic of Upper Egypt and the Late Dynastic of Lower Egypt are more closely related to each other than to any other population. As a whole, they show ties with the European Neolithic, North Africa, modern Europe, and, more remotely, India, but not at all with sub-Saharan Africa, eastern Asia, Oceania, or the New World.

From a C Loring Brace paper. Ignoring the racial study of ancient Egypt, but the bit that really caught my attention was the part in bold..

the fact that so many European Neolithic groups in Figure 4 tie more closely to the Late Dynastic Egyptians near the Mediterranean coast than they do with modern Europeans provides suggestive support for an eastern Mediterranean source for the people of the European Neolithic at an even earlier time level than Bernal suggests for the Egyptian-Phoenician colonization and influence on Greece early in the second millennium BC (Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza, 1973, 1979; Bernal, 1987:2; Cavalli-Sforza et al., 1993; Sokal et al. 1991).

Which would be Turkey, judging by all the other bits and pieces I’ve collected. Going by the language dating (about 9,000 years) and the sudden appearance of all the crops from Turkey in Francthi cave 11,000 years ago, on top of the DNA evidence that suggests Crete was settled from Turkey… I’m thinking Turkey was the probable cradle of Western civilisation, with an expansion beginning somewhere about 11,00 years ago but really getting into full swing about 9,000 years ago.

Racial differences in skull shape.

Firstly, the mostly obvious difference is that the Caucasoid top skull has a very flat profile, while the bottom skull is ‘prognathic’, meaning it’s jaws protrude out. Although not obvious from this image, the nose aperture of the Caucasian skull has a narrower triangle shape; with a longer, thinner bony protrusion at the point where the nose comes out from between the eyes (nuchal ridge). Caucasian skulls also posess a nasil sill (unless you see this shown, no explanation will make sense), Asian and African skulls don’t.


This site will give you all the detailed info if you are interested.