European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 16 - Number 2
Eur J Anat, 16 (2): 134-149 (2012)

Nonmetric cranial variation in human skeletal remains from the Armenian Highland:microevolutionary relations and an intergroup analysis

Anahit Y. Khudaverdyan

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Science, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia

ABSTRACT Nonmetric traits are frequently analyzed in the field of anthropology to measure genetic relatedness, or biodistance within or between populations. These studies are performed under the assumption that nonmetric traits are inherited genetically. Historically, interpretations of both biological and cultural change within the Armenian Highlands, have cited large-scale population movements. Biological estimates of these changes have traditionally relied upon biodistance estimates, using odontologic, craniofacial measures of both deformed and nondeformed skulls. In order to evaluate whether large-scale prehistoric and historic migrations occurred in the Armenian Highlands, we examine the biodistance results from nonmetric cranial traits for 19 mortuary samples that represented all time periods on the Armenian Highlands. None of the distances between each pair of mortuary samples examined in this study was significant. These results suggest biological continuity in the populations of Armenia. The biodistance results also suggest endogamy within inland populations. The broader implications of these results are also discussed.

Keywords: Armenian Highlands, Biologicalanthropology, Archaeology, Osteology, Nonmetric traits, Biodistance

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