Variation and causal factors of craniofacial robusticity in Patagonian hunter-gatherers from late Holocene.
BERNAL V.; PEREZ S.I.; GONZALEZ P.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN BIOLOGY
Año: 2006 p. 748 - 748
Fueguian-Patagonian skulls have been characterized as some of the most robust of any modern crania. However, the causal factors of such robusticity remain unsettled. We assess within- and among-sample cranial robusticity of seven samples from continental Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, using geometric morphometric techniques. In addition, the biomechanical, phylogenetic, and climatic hypotheses proposed to account for robusticity in such samples are discussed. Two Amerindian samples of farmers and two early middle Holocene samples from South America were included. The results show: 1) large variation in craniofacial robusticity among Patagonian samples, with the highest robusticity in samples from south continental Patagonia and Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego, whereas central and north Patagonian samples display the same degree of robusticity as farmer samples; 2) that early middle Holocene samples display lower levels of robusticity than South Patagonian samples; and 3) strong association between latitude and craniofacial robusticity, with the most robust craniofacial morphologies occurring at the highest latitudes. In consequence, neither masticatory stress nor retention of ancestral features is supported by the morphological evidence analyzed. Hence it is hypothesized that endocrine changes related to cold climate may be a plausible explanation for several craniofacial features found in Fueguian and south continental Patagonian samples, such as their large masticatory component, and pronounced supraorbital ridge and glabellar region.