Morphological change in cranial shape following the transition to agriculture across western Eurasia

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Title: Morphological change in cranial shape following the transition to agriculture across western Eurasia
Authors: Cheronet, Olivia
Finarelli, John A.
Pinhasi, Ron
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/8468
Date: 13-Sep-2016
Abstract: The Neolithic transition brought about fundamental social, dietary and behavioural changes in human populations, which, in turn, impacted skeletal morphology. Crania are shaped through diverse genetic, ontogenetic and environmental factors, reflecting various elements of an individual’s life. To determine the transition’s effect on cranial morphology, we investigated its potential impact on the face and vault, two elements potentially responding to different influences. Three datasets from geographically distant regions (Ukraine, Iberia, and the Levant plus Anatolia) were analysed. Craniometric measurements were used to compare the morphology of pre-transition populations with that of agricultural populations. The Neolithic transition corresponds to a statistically significant increase only in cranial breadth of the Ukrainian vaults, while facial morphology shows no consistent transformations, despite expected changes related to the modification of masticatory behaviour. The broadening of Ukrainian vaults may be attributable to dietary and/or social changes. However, the lack of change observed in the other geographical regions and the lack of consistent change in facial morphology are surprising. Although the transition from foraging to farming is a process that took place repeatedly across the globe, different characteristics of transitions seem responsible for idiosyncratic responses in cranial morphology.
Funding Details: European Research Council
Irish Research Council
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Copyright (published version): 2016 the Authors
Keywords: Biological anthropology;Evolution
DOI: 10.1038/srep33316
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Biology & Environmental Science Research Collection
Earth Institute Research Collection
Archaeology Research Collection

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