European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 24 - Number 5
Eur J Anat, 24 (5): 415-428 (2020)

Maximum genetic proportion of metric traits from different regions of the skull in ancient humanpopulations of Northwestern Argentina

Héctor H. Varela, José A. Cocilovo, Silvia G. Valdano

Departamento de Ciencias Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físico Químicas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET-ICBIA), Argentina

ABSTRACT In order to explain the evolutionary process of ancient human populations that inhabited a specif-ic geographical region from quantitative skull traits, it is advisable to know the evolutionary potential of metric characters. For this reason, the proportion of the maximum genetic variance or maximum her-itability (h2m) of the variables studied was estimat-ed. In addition, it was evaluated whether h2m changes between regions of the skull (face, base and vault) and the degree of association between the phenotypic variance and the maximum genetic variance. Twenty-one symmetrical variables on the left and right sides of the skull were measured in 245 skulls from five prehistoric samples from northwestern Argentina. The upper limit of herita-bility was estimated using the repeated measure-ment method. To test whether there are differ-ences between the h2m of each group, the Kruskal-Wallis test was used. The maximum genetic val-ues of each variable were obtained through a re-gression analysis (right measure on left measure). The relationship between phenotypic and maxi-mum genetic values was evaluated by correlation analysis. Significant bilateral difference is demon-strated in six of 21 characters. The average h2m is 0.77 and ranges between 0.58 and 0.93. The aver-age correlation between phenotypic values and maximum genotypic values was 0.8 (R2=0.65), suggesting that it is possible to make inferences of the genetic structure of the population from pheno-typic information. The high proportion of maximum observed genetic variance indicates an important evolutionary potential of the craniofacial complex in ancient populations of northwestern Argentina.

Keywords: Prehistoric populations – Craniometric traits – Bilateral measures – Maximum genetic variance – Repeatability – Evolutionary potential

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)