January 28, 2009

AAPA 2009 abstracts

The book of abstracts (pdfs) from the 2009 conference of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists has many interesting and important topics. I list the titles of those that caught my eye, with the full abstracts and some comments on some of them.

The first one is very important since it shows continuity between ancient Etruscans and medieval/Renaissance Tuscans, and discontinuity between the latter and modern Tuscans.

Recent demographic changes account for the genealogical discontinuity between Etruscan, Medieval and modern Tuscans. GUIDO BARBUJANI, SILVIA GUIMARAES, ANDREA BENAZZO, LUCIO MILANI , DAVID CARAMELLI.
The available mitochondrial DNA
data appear incompatible with the
view that modern Tuscans are
descended from the Etruscans who
inhabited the same region 2,500
years ago. To understand how and
when such a genetic discontinuity
may have arisen, we extracted and
typed the mtDNAs of 27 medieval
Tuscans from an initial sample of
61, spanning a time period between
the 10th and 15th centuries A.D..
Etruscans and medieval Tuscans
share four mitochondrial
haplotypes, and serial coalescent
simulations show a clear
genealogical continuity between
them. By contrast, it was
impossible to fit into the same
mtDNA genealogy modern
inhabitants of the same area,
including those (Murlo, Volterra,
Casentino) who were recently
claimed to be of Etruscan descent.
These data strongly suggest that the
Etruscans did not get extinct when
their culture disappeared with the
Roman assimilation. However, they
contributed little to the modern
mitochondrial gene pool, probably
because of extensive immigration
after 1500 A.D.. No evidence of
excess mutation was found in the
ancient DNA by a Bayesian test,
and so there is no reason to suspect
that these results be biased by
laboratory artefacts in the ancient
sequences. Genealogical continuity
between ancient and modern
populations of the same area does
not seem a safe general assumption,
but rather a hypothesis that should
and can be tested using ancient
DNA analysis.
Stable isotope and mtDNA evidence for geographic origins at the site of Vagnari
(2nd- 4th centuries AD), Italy. T.L. PROWSE, T.E. VON HUNNIUS, AND J.L. BARTA.

Arsinoe IV of Egypt, sister of Cleopatra identified? Osseous and molecular challenges. F. KANZ, K. GROSSSCHMIDT, J. KIESSLICH.
Arsinoe IV of Egypt, the younger
sister of Cleopatra, was murdered
between the ages of 16 and 18 on
the order of Marc Antony in 41 BC
while living in political asylum at
the Artemision in Ephesus
(Turkey). Archaeological findings
and architectural features point to
the skeletal remains found in the socalled
Oktogon - Heroon in the
center of ancient Ephesus - to being
those of Arsinoe IV. Respective
remains were dated and
investigated by forensic osteology,
radiology and ancient DNA
analysis to assess identification:
Radiocarbon dating (VERA-4104)
isolated the period between 210 and
20 BC (94 % prob.).
Morphological features suggest a
female with an estimated body
height of 154 cm (+/- 3 cm) and
with limbs in good proportion to
one another. Epiphyseal closure and
histological age estimation (femoral
cross sections) revealed a consistent
age at death between 15 and 17
years. The whole skeleton appeared
to belong to a slim and fragile
individual (soft tissue
reconstruction was applied and
compared to ancient sources).
Stress markers, like Harris’ lines
were absent and no sings for heavy
workload or pre- or perimortal
traumas were found. Ancient DNA
analysis was carried out for several
bone samples. No nuclear DNA
was detected, most likely due to
diagenetic factors and storage
conditions. Endeavors to find
mitochondrial DNA are currently in
progress. Investigations could
neither verify nor disprove the
theory on the origin of the remains.
However, after successful mtDNA
typing a maternal relative reference
sample would be required for final

The importance of slavery in agriculture: paleopathological evidence from Classical Thebes, Greece. E. VIKA
A hypothesis endorsed by many
writers is that, in the social system
of Classical times, citizens did not
work for a living. This is supported
by iconography and literary
evidence, which presents a wellestablished
life of leisure for the
free. Therefore, slaves were solely
responsible for the cultivation of
land, forming a powerful
However, social organization in
Classical Thebes may have been
very different from what is known
for Classical Athens, and indeed
many writers caution against
applying the Athenian model to all
Greek cities of the period. It may be
more likely that in Thebes, were
population density was such, that
people lived under maximum land
capacity, the need for labor force
was extreme. In this case, slaves
would have joined families and
worked with them.
Physical anthropology can provide
compelling evidence in the matter
of the division of labor in antiquity,
clearly portraying individuals not
involved in manual labor. The
present study examined 50
skeletons from Thebes’ most
extensive historical cemetery. The
results show that activity-related
skeletal alterations, traumas and
pathologies had affected the entire
population, verifying that slaves
and freemen were equally involved
in agricultural activities. This
evidence is important in
reconstructing social structure in
Thebes, moves away from the
domination of the paradigm of
Classical Athens and provides apt
information for the extreme need of
agricultural labor in the area during
this time.

Identification of infanticide in the Greco-Roman world: a contrary view from the Agora of Athens. M.A. LISTON.
The identification of infanticide in
perinatal skeletons is a topic that
has engendered considerable
controversy; distinguishing normal
infant mortality from catastrophic
death or large-scale infanticide is
difficult at best. Roman-era infant
skeletons deposited in a sewer at
Ashkelon, Israel (Smith and Kahila
1992) have been identified as
victims of infanticide, based
primarily on the age-at-death
distributions and the lack of formal
burial. Similar age distributions
from Roman cemetery burials have
been interpreted both as infanticide
in Britain (Mays 1993) and natural
infant mortality in Egypt (Tocheri
et al. 2005). Analysis of a late
Hellenistic/early Roman group of
perinatal infant skeletons (n=457)
deposited in a well in the Athenian
Agora, suggests that infanticide
may not be the appropriate
interpretation of perinatal mortality,
even in the absence of formal
burial. The frequency distributions
of long bone lengths indicate that
all of these sites have similar
patterns, but the Agora infants also
have been demonstrated to have
died from a variety of natural
causes including premature birth
and infectious disease (Liston
AAPA 2007). The age distribution
is similar to that found in other
collections of infants, all identified
as natural perinatal mortality. As
further evidence against widespread
infanticide, morphological
evaluation of the 321 preserved ilia
from the Agora tentatively suggests
a nearly balanced sex ratio as
expected with natural deaths, in
contrast to a subsample from
Ashkelon (Mays and Faerman
2001). However, the identification
of developmental defects in at least
nine Agora infants suggests that
infanticide may be implicated in
some infant deaths.
This seems quite interesting, the frequency of J2 (12%) and G (6%) seem to be quite high in this sample compared to white Americans and Britons.

Finding the Scot in the Scottish-American: Examination of ethnic identity through the Y-chromosome. K.G. BEATY AND M.L. MEALEY.
It is estimated that over 12 million
Americans claim Scottish ancestry.
To determine whether individuals
self-identifed as Scottish carry
Scottish genetics markers in their
genes, samples were collected from
50 males at the 2006 Kansas City
Highland Games. All individuals in
the sample identified themselves as
“Scottish.”. To determine possible
contribution from a paternal line,
surnames where analyzed. All but
6% of the individuals have
surnames that are currently found in
Scotland, with most surnames
having been present in the historical
records the since the mid 1500’s.
Analysis of 9 short-tandem repeats
on the Y-chromosome (YSTRs)
identified probable Y haplogroup
assignment. Individuals in this
sample represented the following
haplogroups: R1b, R1a (3%), I
(11%), J2 (12%), G (6%) and E3b
(4%). Haplogroup R1b dominates
the sample at 64%, as would be
suspected of a population with
origins in Western Europe.
Haplogroup frequencies are found
at those similar to the current
Scottish population, as well as in
similar frequencies to the rest of the
British Isles. All but six Y-STR
haplotypes matched individuals in
the current Scottish population.
Paleoamericans in a Late Pleistocene context: assessing morphological affinities. M. HUBBE, K. HARVATI, W. A. NEVES.

Biological variation resulting from Inka imperialism. J.D. BETHARD.

Craniometric divergence of Japanese inhabitants due to gene flows from Prehistoric Northeast Asians. H. ISHIDA, T. HANIHARA, O. KONDO.

The Swatis of northern Pakistan—Emigrants from Central Asia or colonists from peninsular India?: a dental morphometric investigation. B.E. HEMPHILL.

Considerations for the Population History of the Wakhan Corridor: An Odontometric Investigation of Wakhi Biological Affinity and Diachronic Analysis of Biological Interaction Between Northern Pakistan and South Asia. P.W. O’NEILL AND B.E. HEMPHILL.

The people of the Xiongnu culture (3rd century B.C. to 2nd century A.D.): Insights into the biological diversity of the earliest Eurasian nomadic steppe empire. R.W. SCHMIDT, B. CHRISTY, A. BURCH, A.R. NELSON, N. SEGUCHI.

Rome if you want to: immigrants in the Empire. K. KILLGROVE.

Recognizing population displacements and replacements in prehistory: A view from North Africa. C.M. STOJANOWSKI.

The working class at Hierakonpolis. Nubian or Egyptian?. K. GODDE.

Craniofacial evolution in Polynesia: A geometric morphometric study of population diversity. T.J. BUCK, U. STRAND VIÐARSDÓTTIR

The state of health of Roman Republic to Imperial Roman period burials from the necropolis of Aquinum, Italy. R.R. PAINE, R. VARGIU, G.R. BELLINI, D. MANCINELLI, P. SANTORO, A. COPPA.

Health and lifestyle of ancient pastoralists from Mongolia. J.J. BEACH, M.L. MACHICEK, A.R. NELSON.

Regional patterns among Holocene hunter-gatherers of southern Africa. SUSAN PFEIFFER AND JUDITH SEALY

Ecogeographic variation in the ontogeny of hunter-gatherer physique and skeletal robusticity. JAY STOCK

Hunter-fisher-gatherer dietary adaptations in Neolithic and Bronze Age Siberians. M.A. KATZENBERG, H.G. MCKENZIE, A.W. WEBER AND O.I. GORIUNOVA.

Basques in an Indo-European sea: a perspective from tooth crown morphology. SCOTT GR

Session 5. Reconstructing Health and Disease in Europe: The Early Middle Ages through the
Industrial Period. Invited poster symposium. River Exhibition Hall B.

Stable isotope analysis of diet among Bronze Age and Iron Age inhabitants of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. J.T. ENG, Q. ZHANG, H. ZHU.

The nasal cavity of Pleistocene hominins: implications of climate-related variation among modern humans. M.L. NOBACK, F. SPOOR.

Inferred body proportions of a southern European Neandertal, Palomas 92. E. TRINKAUS, M.J. WALKER, J. MAKI, M.V. LÓPEZ, J. ORTEGA.

Buccal dental microwear and tooth crown morphology in Neandertals and modern humans show significant correlations with prevailing climatic conditions throughout the Middle and Upper Paleolithic in Europe. B. PINILÑLA, A. PÉREZ-PÉREZ.

Geographic structure of global craniometric variation. J.H. RELETHFORD

Australian craniofacial evolution: drift, selection, or all of the above? E.A. CARSON.

Identifying selection and genetic drift in the landmark-based 3D cranial morphology of modern humans. H.F. SMITH

The paradox of human cranial variation. T.D. WEAVER

Geographic structure of craniofacial variation in modern human populations: an R-matrix approach. T. HANIHARA, H. ISHIDA.

Population history and cranial morphology in a large human skeletal dataset. K. HARVATI, M. HUBBE, D.V. BERNARDO, T. HANIHARA

Natural selection, random genetic drift, and the study of morphological variation. C.C. ROSEMAN.

Quantitative genetic insights on the evolutionary processes operating on human skull shape. N.

Ancient demography, not climate, explains within-population phenotypic diversity in humans. A.

Evidence for the influence of diet on cranial form and robusticity. R.A. MENEGAZ, S.V. SUBLETT, S.D. FIGUEROA, T.J. HOFFMAN, M.J. RAVOSA, AND K. ALDRIDGE.

New Frameworks of Understanding for the Origins of Agriculture. BRUCE SMITH

Natural selection, longevity, and the Neandertal-modern interface. J. HAWKS.

The Neanderthal face is not cold adapted. T. C. RAE, T. KOPPE, C. B. STRINGER.

Functional implications of the unique Neandertal face. A. MAROM, Y. RAK.

Using 3-D geometric morphometric techniques to further understand the relationship between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. J.A. MINETZ.

Qualitative and quantitative analyses of the Holocene Khoesan dentition. W. BLACK.

The brain morphology of Homo Liujiang cranium fossil by 3-D CT. X.J. WU, W. LIU. W. DONG, J.Q. QUE, Y.F. WANG

Scurvy in a Late Roman Greek child: multiple lines of evidence. S. GARVIE-LOK, C. PENNYCOOK, R. STARK.

Genetics, Selection, Perception and the Human Face. M.D. SHRIVER, D. LIBERTON, AND K. MATTHES, J. BOSTER AND D.A. PUTS.

Evolution and natural selection of skin color. E.J. PARRA

Late Pleistocene/Holocene human populations transition in Old World: the analysis of morphological dental traits. A. COPPA, F. CANDILIO, A. CUCINA, F. DEMETER, A.KUTTERER, M. LUCCI, F. MANNI, A. OUJAA, S. ROUDESLI-CHEBBI, R. VARGIU.

Morphometric analysis of the Herto cranium (BOU-VP-16-1): Where does it fit? K.D. LUBSEN, J.L. MAYHER, R.S. CORRUCCINI.

Assessing the relationship between craniofacial morphology and genetic variation in a population with admixed ancestry. F.I. MARTINEZ, D. BUSEL, M. MORAGA, G. MANRÍQUEZ, M. BELLATTI, F. LAHR, M.M. LAHR

A genetic association study of normal variation in facial features. D.K. LIBERTON, K.A. MATTHES, B. MCEVOY, R. PEREIRA, T. FRUDAKIS, M.D. SHRIVER.

Dissimilarity fraction for metrical traits of human skull: comparison with genetic studies. A.M. STRAUSS, M. HUBBE.

Cranial nonmetric study of archaeological populations from different historical periods of Mongolia ERDENE MYAGMAR.

Genetic and Linguistic Coevolution in Native Latin America. N.J. SCHNEIDER, K.L. HUNLEY,

Analysis of aDNA From Maya Skeletal Remains Using the Mitochondrial Control Region. ELIZABETH LAVOIE.

Search for founder mitochondrial lineages in Holocene human remains in Patagonia. M. MORAGA, E. ASPILLAGA, F. MENA.

Genetic diversity in South Amerindian populations. M.L. PAROLIN, A.S. GOICOECHEA, C.B. DEJEAN, S.A. AVENA, F.R. CARNESE.

Global human population structuring seen from craniometric data. D. V. BERNARDO, T. F. ALMEIDA, W. A. NEVES, T. HANIHARA


The operational sex ratio (OSR) among hunter-gatherers: cause or effect of male-male competition? MARLOW, FW AND BERBESQUE, JC

Mitochondrial DNA diversity of Yemenite and Ethiopian Jewish populations. NON, AMY L.

Genetic structure of the Spanish populations: the end of the Basque singularity? F. CALAFELL, H. LAAYOUNI, P. GARAGNANI, A. GONZÁLEZ-NEIRA, J. BERTRANPETIT.

Inferring human gene flow over Mediterranean space towards Iberian Peninsula based on Y-chromosomal haplogroups E and J in a coastal Andalusian population (Southern Spain). R. CALDERÓN, B. AMBROSIO, J.M. DUGOUJON, C. HERNÁNDEZ, D. DE LA FUENTE, A. GONZÁLEZ-MARTÍN, J.N. RODRÍGUEZ, A. NOVELLETTO.

Evidence supporting two centers of population differentiation in East Asia: Siberia and SE Asia. M.S. SCHANFIELD, S. MILLER, R. SHYU,M. MOUNT, H.F. POLESKY, R. CASTRO, H. EHRLICH, U. EKE, S. MACK, R.J. MITCHELL, M. COBLE, K. MELVIN, M. H. CRAWFORD.

Climate and Craniofacial shape variation among major human populations: a geometric morphometric approach. M. FRIESS.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign: high density haplotype maps of the dog, human, and cow genomes reveal extensive human reorganization of domesticated genomes. CARLOS D. BUSTAMANTE, ELAINE A. OSTRANDER, MAGNUS NORDBORG, MATTHEW R. NELSON, MICHELE CARGILL, RICHARD A. GIBBS, AND ROBERT K. WAYNE

Insights from sequencing the Neandertal genome. J. KRAUSE, R. E. GREEN, A.W. BRIGGS, U. STENZEL, K. PRUEFER, T. MARICIC, M. KICHNER, J. KELSO, D. REICH, J. C. MULLIKIN, M. EGHOLM & S. PÄÄBO

Layers of history within humanity's genomes. J.L. MOUNTAIN.

The genetic basis of phenotypic variation in Africa: Evidence for local adaptation. S. A. TISHKOFF, M. CAMPBELL, A. FROMENT, J. HIRBO, M. IBRAHIM, S. OMAR, A. RANCIARO.

Seasonality and Brain Size: What’s the Link? J.T. VAN WOERDEN, K. ISLER, C.P. VAN SCHAIK.


lyndon said...

It doesn't seem so unusual that there would have been continuity between the Etruscans of the Roman era and the Tuscan population of the Middle Ages (prior to the Plague). But I have to say that this break in continuity after the Renaissance (don't know when) is highly interesting.

The plague would surely have caused a sizable reduction of the Tuscan population of the middle ages, which you would think would have caused some sort of founder effect or bottleneck at that period, for AFAIK Tuscany was badly hit by the plague...which leads me to wonder why the Renaissance population (still had) Etruscan DNA.

Maybe the lineages of the Renaissance population in Tuscany were in the process of changing dramatically after the plague, but also due to immigration from other parts of Italy at that precise period in history.

Gioiello said...

Granted that it would have to read the paper, if it wouldn’t be at payment, what does he know Farfugliani of Tuscans, who is a “ferrarese”, town which had an influential Jewish community?
He is one of the Italians against Italians as many others, who wish to demonstrate that Italians aren’t Italians.
We know that Etruscans were formed by an upper class, of limited number, come from Anatolia and by a majority of Italics (or what I call “Rhaetians-Etruscans”). It is obvious that the upper class gave a little supply to modern Tuscans, but we find so far some “Etruscan” mitochondrial as R0a, as my cousin’s husband about whom I spoke on “dna-forums”. As time passes, the “Etruscan” presence is of course more and more less.
Which are the evidences that Tuscany had an immigration after 16th century, if we exclude Leghorn, open city whose history we know well? None.
First Farfugliani said that Tuscans hadn’t anything to do with Etruscans, now that “Modern Tuscans”. But who pay for his researches?

DagoRed said...

If the story of Erodoto was true, we would see in Tuscany Anatolian colonies as we have the Greeks in Sicily. But in Tuscany we have only villanovians villages that becomed cities.
The Etruscan is a people that is formed in the time, it was constituted by native and oriental elements that dealt the iron and that they are mixed to the local upper class, influeced the language and the customs.
We know that the Etruscan society was formed by a small aristocracy that governed a mass of servants, and this is the reason fof its decadence.
The true mystery of the etruscan language is not its origin but its disappearance. In the archaic times it influenced those of the neighbors, the Latins and the Faliscis, but when the etruscan power declined it quickly disappeared, without leaving traces. The dialect in Tuscany is the only one that doesn't have traces of the language pre Roman. In the other regions the dialects preserves the pre Roman languages and these languages also influenced the same Latin.
This can mean that the etruscan language was above all the language of an upper class, especially used for religious use, but it was not rooted in the big part of the people.

Jack said...

Maybe the "Etruscans" were too stupid to survive the Renaissance. They had made it till then because the Romans tolerated them...
It's a possibility worth considering.

DagoRed said...

And who invaded Tuscany after the "Renaissance"?

eurologist said...

A rich upper class may marry their daughters far across the land, while their sons bring home wives from other places.

Perhaps the original Etruscan MtDNA just got heavily diluted throughout Italy.

Seems to me that region was pretty stable after the Renaissance, one should look into changes in marriage patterns, for which their would be historical (church) records...

Gioiello said...

"Seems to me that region was pretty stable after the Renaissance, one should look into changes in marriage patterns, for which their would be historical (church) records..."
Being Tuscan and having done researches in the churches and in Archives for forty years, I am able to affirm that what Farfugliani says it is unreliable: very few are the immigrants to Tuscany after Renaissance: only someone from Emilia, the Appennine's carpenters and woodcutters named "Lombardi", who came from region of ancient Etruscan origin like the region of Modena (the Etruscan 'Mutina'): perhaps they were more Etruscans than Tuscans. As I have said, Farfugliani is unreliable and "farfuglia" (mumbles).

eurologist said...

Interesting, but remember we are only talking about the women, here...

DagoRed said...

Anyway the great Plague, the "Black Death", was in the 1347-52, while the Renaissance's apogeo was in the late 1400, with the Lorenzo De Medici's government in Florence.
The Plague The Plague struck the whole Italy, Europe and the Mediterranean countries, nobody emigrated in Tuscany. The migrations of the years 60 brought a lot of souther italian people to north of Italy, but in Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria, not in Tuscany.
Naturally the movements of the people are today very more numerous and fast than in the medieval age, but the population in Tuscany has been stable for centuries.

Gioiello said...

DagoRed, if you speak of the Sixties of last century, also Tuscany had an important immigration (someone calculated that the Tuscan inhabitants of to-day are 3,000,000 autochthonous and 600,000 due to Italian immigration, without counting these last dramatic events). What I deny it is a massive immigration after the Renaissance Age. For this I think that the reasearch of Farfugliani is all ideological, scarcely scientific, as there are other best explications beside immigration. It is in line with other recent papers like those on Phoenicians and Jews. I suspect that the line is the same. Usually when these studies are done, the individuals selected must have four native grandparents, then I think nobody of them was of recent immigration.

Jack said...

I wonder how much more similar to Northern Italy central Italy would have been without the perhaps small amount of "orientalization" due to Etruscans.
It could help to see where areas like Abruzzo and Molise stand genetically.
I don't remember reading much about these little known areas yet they are important historically to ancient italian history.

DagoRed said...

Gioiello mine was a rhetoric question, anybody you/he/she has invaded Tuscany after the small groups of Longobardi, naturally. It is true that also Tuscany has had an emigration from the south, but less that the industrial regions of the north, but as you you say it it is ininfluente on this study. What Farfugliani say is a nonsense.

Jack all the Italian regions of the Appenninies dorsal have a homogeneous population, from the north to the south: Piceni, Umbri, Latin, Osci, Sanniti etc. all of them are the "Italic Tribes." When they had the roman citizen formed wht we know how Italy. Nevertheless they can culturally differentiate in the time as that of the Lucanis, a Sannitic people strongly hellenizated after met the greeks of the coast..

Gioiello said...

DagoRed, your "ininfluente" manifests your Italian origin. Perhaps I know who you are, but if you prefer to remain anonimous...

sardiniankid said...

i always thought etruscans looked sortve phoenician or north african

alfio said...

Actually Tuscany is pretty much more similar to North Italy(Emilia, Liguria) than to Abruzzi given the last studies.
@SardiniaKid, i always thought they looked like Sardinians instead.