Skull dimensions of Dominicans and Haitians differ despite close physical proximity


Share post:

Forensic anthropologists analyze skeletal remains to establish the biological profile (sex, age, ancestry and stature). While ancestry is an important component, most research has focused on identifying individuals of African-American and European-American descent.

Skull dimensions of Dominicans and Haitians differ despite close physical proximity
Linear Measurements used according to craniometric points
[Credit: Cordeiro et al. 2015]

Now for the first time, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have conducted a craniometric study (measuring the main part of the skull) on understudied and marginalized groups and found that skull dimensions of Dominicans and Haitians, who occupy a relatively small island of Hispaniola, are different from each other.

According to the researchers, while skeletal and genetic studies show that Caribbean groups are incredibly diverse, they are often lumped together under the broad ancestral category of “Hispanic,” along with many other Latin American groups.

Using standard anthropometric craniometric measurements (28 measurements) of both Dominicans and Haitians from computerized tomography (CT) scans from a major hospital in Santo Domingo, the researchers analyzed the measurements to determine similarities and differences.

“Our study demonstrates that, despite sharing a small island, Dominican and Haitian individuals can be differentiated with a fair amount of statistical certainty, which is possible due to complex population histories that have kept them separate despite their geographically close proximity,” explained corresponding author Michelle Herrera, a graduate student in the MS Program in Forensic Anthropology at BUSM.

The authors believe it is important to conduct research on groups that are not represented in the typically researched skeletal collections. “Ultimately, this research can aid forensic specialists in identifying missing persons on the island of Hispaniola,” added Herrera.

The findings are published in Forensic Science International.

Source: Boston University School of Medicine [October 31, 2019]



Related articles

Linguist studies the anumeric language of an Amazonian tribe

Most people learn to count when they are children. Yet surprisingly, not all languages have words for numbers....

Study confirms that Neanderthals possessed capacity for symbolic thought

To date, it was thought that only Homo sapiens possessed the ability to attribute concepts to symbols. The research shows...

When ancient fossil DNA isn’t available, ancient glycans may help trace human evolution

Ancient DNA recovered from fossils is a valuable tool to study evolution and anthropology. Yet ancient fossil DNA...

Scientists in uproar at £1m religion prize

The astronomer Royal has won this year's £1m Templeton Prize, an award denounced by many atheist scientists as...

DNA tool allows you to trace your ancient ancestry

Scientists at the University of Sheffield studying ancient DNA have created a tool allowing them to more accurately...

Parasites from medieval latrines unlock secrets of human history

A radical new approach combining archaeology, genetics and microscopy can reveal long-forgotten secrets of human diet, sanitation and...

Drier, less predictable environment may have spurred human evolution

A progressively drying climate punctuated by variable wetter episodes may have precipitated the transition from our hominin ancestors...

Predicting human evolution: Teeth tell the story

Monash University-led research has shown that the evolution of human teeth is much simpler than previously thought, and...