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Early Holocene human skeletal remains from Santana do Riacho, Brazil: implications for the settlement of the New World

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Neves, W. A. ; Prous, A. ; González-José, R. ; Powell, J. ; Kipnis, E. [5]
Número total de Autores: 5
Tipo de documento: Artigo Científico
Fonte: Journal of Human Evolution; v. 45, n. 1, p. 759-782, Jul. 2003.
Área do conhecimento: Ciências Humanas - Arqueologia
Assunto(s):Paleontologia humana   Geologia histórica   Holoceno

In this study we compare the cranial morphology of several late Paleoindian skeletons uncovered at Santana do Riacho, Central Brazil, with worldwide human cranial variation. Mahalanobis Distance and Principal Component Analysis are used to explore the extra-continental morphological affinities of the Brazilian Paleoindian sample. Santana do Riacho is a late Paleoindian burial site where approximately 40 individuals were recovered in varying states of preservation. The site is located at Lagoa Santa/Serra do Cipó, State of Minas Gerais. The first human activities in this rockshelter date back to the terminal Pleistocene, but the burials are bracketed between circa 8200 and 9500 BP. The collection contains only six skulls well-enough preserved to be measured. The Santana do Riacho late Paleoindians present a cranial morphology characterized by long and narrow neurocrania, low and narrow faces, with low nasal apertures and orbits. The multivariate analyses show that they exhibit strong morphological affinities with present day Australians and Africans, showing no resemblance to recent Northern Asians and Native Americans. These findings confirm our long held opinion that the settlement of the Americas was more complicated in terms of biological input than has been widely assumed. The working hypothesis is that two very distinct populations entered the New World by the end of the Pleistocene, and that the transition between the cranial morphology of the Paleoindians and the morphology of later Native Americans, which occurred around 8-9 ka, was abrupt. This, in our opinion, is a more parsimonious explanation for the diversity detected than a long, local microevolutionary process mediated by selection and drift. The similarities of the first South Americans with sub-Saharan Africans may result from the fact that the non-Mongoloid Southeast Asian ancestral population came, ultimately, from Africa, with no major modification in the original cranial bau plan of the first modern humans. (AU)

Processo FAPESP: 99/00670-7 - Origens e microevolução do homem na América: uma abordagem paleo-antropológica (II)
Beneficiário:Walter Alves Neves
Linha de fomento: Auxílio à Pesquisa - Temático
Processo FAPESP: 01/06881-1 - Processo de ocupação e adaptação de populações pré-históricas do Brasil Central
Beneficiário:Renato Kipnis
Linha de fomento: Bolsas no Brasil - Pós-Doutorado