Cranial Nonmetric Traits

November 12, 2010

The frequency distribution of nonmetric cranial traits reflects inter-group genetic differences, producing clusters that correspond to human races. In this global study, Italians (#50) are located in the center of a Caucasoid cluster, surrounded by Slavs from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia (#49), Finns (#51), Swedes and Norwegians (#52), Germans (#53), French (#54), Russians (#47), Ancient and Modern Greeks (#48), and Ancient Egyptians and Nubians (#59-62), as well as four United Kingdom samples from Scotland and England: Late Medieval, Late Roman, Mid-Victorian, and Pre-17th century (#55-58).

Detail: Caucasoids

Here are the full scatter plots of all populations using the first through fourth principal coordinates, along with a description from the study. I've color-coded the three major groups: Europeans (red), East Asians (blue), and Sub-Saharan Africans (green).

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.... Roughly three major constellations are evident. The Subsaharan African, Southeast Asian, and Oceanian samples form a cluster in one quadrant of Figure 2a. However, the Subsaharan African samples form a distinct grouping, well removed from the Southeast Asian and Oceanian samples on the third and fourth principal coordinates. In Figures 1 and 2, the Subsaharan African samples show significant separation from other regions, as well as diversity among themselves. The East/Northeast Asian and European samples form two additional discernable clusters. The New World and Arctic samples are peripheral subgroups in the large East/Northeast Asian cluster, and the two Ainu samples are outliers to other East Asians. The Central Asian samples are located between the Eastern Asian and European clusters. In the bottom half of Figure 2a, the South Asian samples are nearest to the center of all groups, the North African samples are a bit further removed, and the European samples are more separated, having the lowest scores on principal axis 2.

Hanihara et al. "Characterization of Biological Diversity Through Analysis of Discrete Cranial Traits". Am J Phys Anthropol, 2003.


Crimson Guard said...

That is interesting. Wonder whats causing the Greek, Norse, Egyptians, and Nubians to be more closer. And it appears despite that the UK samples are separated from mainland Europe(or even Scandinavia)they're closer to the Italians than the French. The Finns are also separated from the heart of Europe in one of the plots but are a bit closer to Eastern Europeans which also makes sense even geographically I suppose.

onur said...

It seems Tagars might have had some Mongoloid admixture.