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Migrations in the Eurasian Steppes in the Light of Paleoanthropological Dat

A. Khudaverdyan

Published: 2011/06/01

Abstract

Cranial series provide vital clues about human history. The purposes of this analysis is to investigate the biological interactions between the population of Western Eurasia and that of the Armenian uplands, reconstructed on the basis of phenetic affinities between separate populations. Measurements of the neurocranium and facial skeleton have been used for many years to provide an assessment of the degree of biological relatedness among samples from past and living populations. Although these measurements are influenced by an unknown combination of hereditary and environmental factors (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1971), and may be affected by masticatory mechanics (Van Gerven 1982) and environmental variation (Beals 1972, Guglielmino-Matessi et al. 1979), twin studies (Clark 1956, Orczykowska-Swiatkowska et al. 1975, Saunders et al. 1980), familial studies (Devor 1987, Howells 1966), and worldwide comparisons of craniometric variation have revealed a moderate degree of genetic control (Susanne 1977), and have demonstrated the utility of such variables for reconstructing patterns of biological interaction between populations (Howells 1973, 1989, Abdueshvili 1982, Alexeev 1986). Our study involved the multidimensional craniometrical analysis of more than 204 cranial series from the fifth to the second millennia BC in Eurasia. These were analyzed using canonical variates analysis of Mahalanobis D2 generalized distances between each pair of samples. New anthropological data allowed identification of alien Mediterranean characteristics influencing various ethnic Eurasian groups and revealed evidence of a migratory stream from the Armenia, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. This research provided new evidence of patterns of ethnic contact and intermixture in Western Eurasia.

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