Ancestral dental traits in recent Sub-Saharan Africans and the origins of modern humans
Author: Irish J.D.
Source: Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 34, Number 1, January 1998 , pp. 81-98(18)
Publisher: Academic Press
Assuming that phenetic expression approximates genetic variation, previous dental morphological analyses of Sub-Saharan Africans by the author show they are unique among the world's modern popu-lations. Numerically-derived affinities, using the multivariate Mean Measure of Divergence statistic, revealed significant differences between the Sub-Saharan folk and samples from North Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and the New World, Australia/Tasmania, and Melanesia. Sub-Saharan Africans are characterized by a collection of unique, mass-additive crown and root traits relative to these other world groups. Recent work found that the most ubiquitous of these traits are also present in dentitions of earlier hominids, as well as extinct and extant non-human primates; other ancestral dental features are also common in these forms. The present investigation is primarily concerned with this latter finding. Quali-tative and quantitative comparative analyses of Plio-Pleistocene through recent samples suggest that, of all modern populations, Sub-Saharan Africans are the least derived dentally from an ancestral hominid state; this conclusion, together with data on intra- and inter-population variability and divergence, may help provide new evidence in the search for modern human origins. Copyright 1998 Academic Press.
Document Type: Research article
Affiliations: Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 87131-1086
Publication date: 1998-01-01