The secular change in body size across generations provides information about public health changes and living conditions over time. In this study, secular height and weight changes in the adult Turkish population for the years between 1884 and 2006 were analyzed. The study was based on a contemporary cross-sectional survey conducted in Ankara, Turkey, on 1215 (703 males and 512 females) healthy adults. Historical data sets were obtained from previous surveys. Between 1884 and 2006, the mean height of Turkish males increased by 11.94 cm (0.98 cm/decade). The height increase was 6.59 cm (0.96 cm/decade) for females between 1937 and 2006: the mean weight increase was 15.78 kg for males and 14.12 kg for females during this same 69-year period. Although the mean height of Turkish males was within the range of the variations in European countries during the 1880s, Turkish males and females today are shorter and lighter than people in the United States and several European countries. In the first half of the 20th century, periods of sudden decreases, and subsequent recoveries, were identified. However, in the last three decades the positive secular change has accelerated rapidly due to modest improvements in the socio-economic prosperity of Turkey, and it can be concluded that further positive changes may be expected in the near future.
An excavation at the cave site of Hang Cho in northern Vietnam resulted in the discovery of a terminal Pleistocene human skeleton in a relatively good state of preservation. The material culture from this site belongs to the pre-ceramic Hoabinhian period. An AMS radiocarbon date on a tooth sample extracted from this individual gives a calibrated age of 10450 ± 300 years BP. In discussions of the population history of Southeast Asia, it has been repeatedly advocated that Southeast Asia was occupied by indigenous people akin to present-day Australo-Melanesians prior to the Neolithic expansion of migrants from Northeast Asia into the area. Cranial and dental metric analyses were undertaken in order to assess the biological affinity of early settlers in this region. The results suggest that the Hang Cho skeleton, as well as other early or pre-Holocene remains in Southeast Asia, represent descendants of colonizing populations of late Pleistocene Sundaland, who may share a common ancestry with present-day Australian Aboriginal and Melanesian people.
Sangiran 27 represents the only facial skeleton of Homo erectus so far known, and is thought to have derived from the earliest Pleistocene sediments of the Sangiran Formation, Java. We here describe in detail this cranial specimen, and provide comparisons with broadly contemporaneous fossils of western Asia and Africa. Sangiran 27 is a highly mineralized partial cranium with a well-preserved postcanine maxillary dentition, and includes portions of the face and anterior vault that have undergone substantial postmortem crushing and deformation. We consider that the 40Ar/39Ar dates on bracketing tuffs provide an age estimate of between 1.58 and 1.66 Ma for the cranium, making it highly relevant to the identity and adaptations of the earliest hominids dispersing from Africa. Based on anatomical comparisons, Sangiran 27 is best considered a member of H. erectus. However, Sangiran 27 exhibits a more robust morphology than the broadly contemporaneous fossils from Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia and Turkana region, Kenya, while it shares some dental similarities with the Dmanisi 2282 specimen.
The significance of morphological variation in the axillary border among Pleistocene and recent humans has been considered for nearly a century, with the high frequency of the dorsal sulcus pattern in the Neandertal lineage receiving particular attention. Although usually considered an epigenetic trait, or phylogenetic marker, the variation has also been related to functional demands on the shoulder region. The Kiik-Koba 2 infant Neandertal scapula, as one of the developmentally youngest ones known, exhibits a smooth ventral surface, a ventral displacement of the lateral margin, a prominent dorsal bar, and a dorsolateral sulcus along the border. This configuration is best seen as an incipient dorsal sulcus pattern, and given the young age-at-death of Kiik-Koba 2, supports the epigenetic trait interpretation of the morphological variation.
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