Old World sources of the first New World human inhabitants: A comparative craniofacial view

C. Loring Brace, A. Russell Nelson, Noriko Seguchi, Hiroaki Oe, Leslie Sering, Pan Qifeng, Li Yongyi, Dashtseveg Tumen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Human craniofacial data were used to assess the similarities and differences between recent and prehistoric Old World samples, and between these samples and a similar representation of samples from the New World. The data were analyzed by the neighbor-joining clustering procedure, assisted by bootstrapping and by canonical discriminant analysis score plots. The first entrants to the Western Hemisphere of maybe 15,000 years ago gave rise to the continuing native inhabitants south of the U.S.-Canadian border. These show no close association with any known mainland Asian population. Instead they show ties to the Ainu of Hokkaido and their Jomon predecessors in prehistoric Japan and to the Polynesians of remote Oceania. All of these also have ties to the Pleistocene and recent inhabitants of Europe and may represent an extension from a Late Pleistocene continuum of people across the northern fringe of the Old World. With roots in both the northwest and the northeast, these people can be described as Eurasian. The route of entry to the New World was at the northwestern edge. In contrast, the Inuit (Eskimo), the Aleut, and the Na-Dene speakers who had penetrated as far as the American Southwest within the last 1,000 years show more similarities to the mainland populations of East Asia. Although both the earlier and later arrivals in the New World show a mixture of traits characteristic of the northern edge of Old World occupation and the Chinese core of mainland Asia, the proportion of the latter is greater for the more recent entrants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10017-10022
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume98
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 14 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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