This looks like an excellent example of modern physical anthropology work. Unfortunately it's only an abstract. Can't wait to see the paper.
Mesolithic populations from the Eastern Europe and Siberia: cranial shape analysis with the help of geometric morphometric methodology
Ekaterina Bulygina(1), Anna Rasskasova(1), Denis Pezhemski(1)
1 - Research Institute and Museum of Anthropology, Moscow State University, Russia
Several Mesolithic and early Neolithic populations dated to 10,000 – 6,000 years BC from Russia, Romania and Ukraine have been analysed by means of quantifying their 3D cranial shape. The whole sample comprised 85 individuals, including Mesolithic and Neolithic groups from Yuzhny Oleni Ostrov (Russia); Vasilievka, Voloshkoe and Vovnigi (Ukraine); Varasti (Romania); Itkul and Ust-Isha (South Siberia) and Locomotiv (East Siberia). A comparative set of modern populations was sampled to include representatives from Europe, Africa, Eastern Asia and (native) America. Apart from the standard geometric morphometric procedures, we cluster ordinated data to establish potential relationships between groups and use permutation of individual distances to establish the significance of the group differentiation. The method of analysis is first verified with the help of the modern populations that have varied geographical provenance. We establish that no cranial data, whether the face and the neurocranium are analysed together or separately, allow us to recover geographical relationships between the modern populations in our sample. Nevertheless, clusters that have been recovered with the help of the whole cranium data correspond well with the expected generic relationships between the sampled modern groups. As a result, we choose to analyse the shape of the complete cranium, where such is available, in fossil individuals as well. Our results highlight a high level of variation within Mesolithic and within Neolithic populations of the Eastern Europe and Siberia as compared with the pooled sample of the modern humans from different geographical locations worldwide. However, a certain structure among the analysed groups can still be revealed. The results suggest that Mesolithic groups from the Dnieper region have close morphological affinities with each other, while Yushny Oleni Ostrov have a large overlap with modern humans in general and with some of the mongoloid groups in particular. Neolithic groups are, on the whole, closer to modern populations than to the Mesolithic sample. At the same time, Siberian individuals show a complex pattern of morphological relationships which may be revealing of their genetic identity. On the whole, our results invite further discussion on the origins and affinities of the Eastern European Mesolithic and Early Neolithic groups as well as call for the research into the impact that the choice of data has on the results of 3D morphological analyses. Acknowledgements: This work has been supported by the grant of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research No № НК 13-06-00045.
Source: European Society for the study of Human Evolution (ESHE) 5th Annual Meeting PESHE4 final abstracts volume.