Muscle markers revisited: Activity pattern reconstruction with controls in a central California Amerind population

  • Weiss E
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Abstract

The African American (AA) gene pool is primarily the result of gene flow between two biologically disparate groups: West Africans (WA) and Americans of western European descent (EA). This research utilizes characteristics of dental morphology to trace genetic relationships among WA, western Europeans (EU), AA, and European Americans. Dental morphological traits are useful for this purpose because they are heritable, do not remodel during life (although they can be lost to wear or pathology), and can be compared equally among samples from past and present populations. The results of this research provide new information about human microevolution through time and space in a biocultural setting. The mean measure of divergence is used to analyze dental morphological data from 1,265 individuals in 25 samples grouped by ancestry and time. Three hypotheses associated with admixture in AA are tested. When compared with known history, results from dental morphological data are equivocal in documenting admixture in AA. Dental morphological traits do appear to reflect admixture in AA. However, changes in trait frequencies do not closely correspond with important cultural events and trends such as the institutionalized racism of the Civil War and Jim Crow era. Results are mixed concerning whether AA with greater admixture were more likely to take part in the Great Migration to southern urban centers and to the North.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Activity patterns
  • Body size
  • Musculoskeletal stress markers

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Authors

  • Elizabeth Weiss

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