The present work studies the anthropometric characteristics, nutritional status, and cardio-respiratory functions of Rajis, a tribal community that live at medium altitudes (914–2286 m) in the Indian Himalayas. Sixty-three Rajis in the age range 21–70 years were studied. Six anthropometric and six physiological variables were studied, and the body mass index (BMI) was computed. All anthropometric and physiological dimensions showed a decline with advancing age. The lung functions, structural chest dimensions, muscular strength, stature, weight, and body circumferences showed significant but negative correlation with age; however, blood pressure and pulse rate displayed a statistically significant but positive correlation with age. All the subjects above 50 years of age were found to be in different underweight categories. The Rajis are habitually very active and displayed comparable lung functions to other mid- and high-altitude populations despite having low BMI values. The present study indicates the importance of lung function in rendering an adaptive advantage to the Raji population.
We performed three-dimensional analysis of the morphology of adult crania excavated from the Himrin basin and neighboring areas, northern Iraq, to investigate possible temporal variations in craniofacial shape in this area from the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age to the Islamic period. The sample comprised 45 specimens excavated by the Kokushikan University archeological expedition in 1978–1980 and now housed at Kyoto University, Japan. Computed tomography images of the crania were created and virtual models generated. Variability in cranial shape was examined using a geometric morphometric technique based on landmark coordinates. Ten modern Japanese adult crania were also included in the analysis for comparison. The results show that cranial shape in the pre-Islamic period was relatively dolichocranic, whereas those in the Islamic period were more diverse with both dolichocranic and brachycranic populations present, as suggested previously. Furthermore, the dolichocranic population tended to display relatively lower orbits and broader noses, and vice versa in the brachycranic population. However, the principal component classifying dolichocranic and brachycranic populations accounted for only about 12% of total variance, indicating that morphological variability of the crania is actually large and cannot be simply classified into two groups. A certain tendency of craniofacial variability was also found along a specific direction independent of temporal change, such directional variability was actually larger than variations through time. The Mesopotamian crania were found to differ from modern Japanese in terms of relative orthognathism of the maxilla and declination of the forehead. The present accurate description of craniofacial variability serves as a basis for future comparative research with neighboring populations towards understanding the origin and history of Mesopotamian inhabitants.
The Bodo partial distal humerus with an approximate age of 0.6 million years is one of the very few postcranial remains from the African Middle Pleistocene. Despite its fragmentary status, comparisons of the Bodo humerus with other fossil hominid and modern human samples reveal some insights into African hominids of this time period. The Bodo partial humerus displays distal humeral features very common in the European Middle and Late Pleistocene hominids, such as a relatively wide olecranon fossa and relatively thin lateral and medial pillars adjacent to the fossa. In Africa, the postcranial fossils from the Middle and Late Pleistocene exhibit a surprising amount of morphological diversity. The presence of ‘typically’ Neandertal traits in some, but not all, Homo ergaster, H. Rhodesiensis, and early H. sapiens, together with the greater similarity of some African specimens than others to recent humans, highlights the problem of interpreting the anatomical variation that characterizes African fossil humans. An analysis of frequency–based patterning can help us understand this striking variation. Populations of Middle Pleistocene African hominids, such as the one represented by the Bodo specimen studied here, may have been variable, and their skeletons may have contained a mosaic of modern and non–modern human traits.
Since its first description in 2004, Homo floresiensis has been attributed to a species of its own, a descendant of H. erectus or another early hominid, a pathological form of H. sapiens, or a dwarfed H. sapiens related to the Neolithic inhabitants of Flores. In this contribution, we apply a geometric morphometric analysis to the skull of H. floresiensis (LB1) and compare it with skulls of normal H. sapiens, insular H. sapiens (Minatogawa Man and Neolithic skulls from Flores), pathological H. sapiens (microcephalics), Asian H. erectus (Sangiran 17), H. habilis (KNM ER 1813), and Australopithecus africanus (Sts 5). Our analysis includes specimens that were highlighted by other authors to prove their conclusions. The geometric morphometric analysis separates H. floresiensis from all H. sapiens, including the pathological and insular forms. It is not possible to separate H. floresiensis from H. erectus. Australopithecus falls separately from all other skulls. The Neolithic skulls from Flores fall within the range of modern humans and are not related to LB1. The microcephalic skulls fall within the range of modern humans, as well as the skulls of the Neolithic small people of Flores. The cranial shape of H. floresiensis is close to that of H. erectus and not to that of any H. sapiens. Apart from cranial shape, some features of H. floresiensis are not unique but are shared with other insular taxa, such as the relatively large teeth (shared with Early Neolithic humans of Sardinia), and changed limb proportions (shared with Minatogawa Man).
Talon cusp is a rare developmental anomaly in deciduous and permanent dentition. This paper reports a case of talon cusp affecting the deciduous maxillary left incisor from a Portuguese child who died more than 680 years ago. Metric analysis suggests that the affected tooth is a double tooth. The possible co-existence of these two anomalies in the deciduous dentition, although clinically rare, represents the second archaeological case reported.
The expression and frequency of a morphological variant of maxillary anterior teeth known as the ‘talon cusp’ is reported in a sample of 142 Malay schoolchildren from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The trait exhibits variable and unilateral expression in the maxillary right lateral incisors of three children, yielding a frequency of 2.1%. Trait expression was graded in nature with males exhibiting larger talon cusps (Type 1, full talon; and Type 2, large semitalon) than the affected female (Type 2, small semitalon). A comprehensive analysis of the Malay primary dentition was conducted to detect possible morphometric covariation with talon cusp. Individuals with talon cusp are not significantly different from unaffected individuals in buccolingual crown size or in primary molar crown morphology. However, two of three individuals with talon cusp possess maxillary and mandibular primary canine teeth with an unusual conical crown structure. While talon cusp has previously been reported to co-occur with supernumerary teeth, including mesiodens, this is the first report of an association with cone-shaped primary canines. We address the infrequent expression of talon cusp in primary maxillary lateral incisor teeth, the presence of talon cusp in earlier and prehistoric populations, the analogous anthropological trait known as tuberculum dentale, and the treatment needs of patients with talon.
It is now generally held that the Neolithic Jomon people with generalized craniofacial features occupied the entire Japanese archipelago. Around 2300–1300 years BP, migrants from somewhere in eastern Asia to the southwestern part of Japan admixed with the indigenous Jomon descendants. Based on this population history, it is expected to find clinal variation of genetic as well as phenotypic traits over space and time, as well as population groups related to the previous inhabitants over which the present one has been superimposed at the periphery of the expansion of migrant lineages, the Tohoku region. Taking these hypotheses into account, the present study focuses on the pattern of spatial and temporal craniometric variation to address the process of population growth, expansion, and microevolution during the last 2000 years, with special reference to the population history of the Tohoku region. The results obtained support the ‘dual structure model’ for the origin and affinities of modern Japanese. Turning to the situation of the Tohoku region, one may conclude that the relatively close morphological affinity of Tohoku Kofun and, to a lesser extent, Tohoku Edo with the recent Ainu should not be regarded as an evidence of the close population relationships (ancestral–descendant relationships) but a possible differential retention of common ancestral characteristics.
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