Skulls and Immigrants

16 Jun 2010

www.plosone.org ... the online journal PLoS One has an article on the differences between palaeo-americans and amerindians, a huge morphological dissimilarity involving crania shape and size. The claim is that the earliest Americans were Australo-Melanesians and the second wave of immigrants came from East Asia. Cranial research has not got the best of reputations because some of the 19th and 20th century theories have proved to be wrong-headed - and there is also some evidence that skull shapes can change naturally within a population without the requirement of external admixture. Never the less, the research is valuable as it supports earlier hypothesis based on other factors - and there is always the Kennewick skeleton to fall back on. It is thought he was related to the Ainu of Hokkaido Island in Japan (see also http://news.yahoo.com June 15th).