Hokkaido is an intriguing region for studies of population history in Japan because of its geographical position both at the periphery in the Japanese archipelago and at the gateway to the northeastern Eurasian continent. This paper focuses on the biological relationship between two populations, Okhotsk culture people and Ainu, and investigates craniofacial variation and dental wear severity between and within the populations. Fifty-six anatomical landmarks were digitized in order to capture craniofacial shape and size components, and occlusal wear scores on the maxillary dentition were recorded as a proxy for the degree of masticatory stress. Population differences are clear in the craniofacial form: the Okhotsk skull is characterized by a high and broad face but a relatively smaller palate, high and anteriorly protruding zygoma as well as mediosuperiorly positioned temporal muscle origins, large infratemporal and mandibular fossae. However, this morphological shift is not proportional to that of the east–west regional difference within the Ainu males, each of which is detected along distinct and mutually independent principal components. Dental wear is stronger in Okhotsk than in Ainu although without any regional difference in the respective sample. Moderate association is found between the dental wear scores and the craniofacial shape components only in the Okhotsk males, suggesting that they might have suffered from a substantial amount of functional demands. These results do not reject, but suggest modifications of, a previous simple model of genetic contribution from Okhotsk culture people to the formation of the Ainu regional variation. The formation process of the Ainu remains to be studied further in both biological and cultural contexts.
Nine human remains were recovered from Shiraho-Saonetabaru Cave on Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, between 2007 and 2009. Six of the nine samples produced well-preserved biogenic collagen, which was submitted to radiocarbon dating by accelerator mass spectrometry. Three human samples (Nos. 2, 4, and 8) from the fossil chamber were dated to between 16 and 20 ka BP, and can clearly be assigned to the Late Pleistocene. One animal bone from the same chamber which was treated and measured for radiocarbon independently was also of great antiquity (c. 12 ka BP). These dates are the first concrete evidence of human occupation on the Ryukyu Islands during the Pleistocene, based on the direct radiocarbon dates of human remains. It is expected that more human remains and archaeological objects of the Pleistocene will be recovered from Shiraho-Saonetabaru Cave and the surrounding region by future intensive collaborations between anthropologists, archaeologists, and speleologists.
Lapa do Bugio is a small natural cave located in a limestone cliff hanging over the sea at Azóia, Sesimbra, around 40 km south of Lisbon. This cave was used as burial place in the Late Neolithic. The necropolis comprised ten individual graves, an ossuary and a small cache, but today it is impossible to assign bones to individual graves. Therefore the anthropological remains were studied as if they were from an ossuary. The human remains from this site housed in the Museu Municipal de Sesimbra were recently re-studied by the current authors. Based on the number of mandibles, the remains represent at least 16 individuals, 15 adults and one sub-adult. Among the three vertebral remains, an arrowhead was found embedded in the second cervical vertebra of an adult of unknown sex. The tip had entered into the vertebral body and the other end of the arrowhead was lodged against the spinous process, indicating that this projectile had entered from behind. Therefore, this injury penetrated through the spinal cord of the individual, who could not possibly have survived. X-rays and computer tomography confirmed that there were no signs of healing. No other indications of trauma were observed in the human bone sample. The aim of this paper is to describe this projectile injury. It represents the first Portuguese Late Neolithic case in which an arrowhead has been found embedded in bone and adds to the very few archaeological case descriptions available worldwide.
Dental enamel thickness continues to feature prominently in anthropological studies of ape and human evolution, as well as studies of preventative oral care and treatment. Traditional studies of enamel thickness require physical sectioning of teeth for linear and scaled measurements. Recent applications of microtomographic imaging allow scientists to employ larger and more diverse samples, including global samples of recent humans as well as fossil hominin teeth. Unfortunately, little is known about the degree of enamel thickness variation among human populations, particularly across the dentition. This study employed microtomography to virtually image, section, and quantify the average enamel thickness of a sample of clinically extracted Indonesian canine and premolar teeth. This virtual sample was compared to physically sectioned African and European teeth. The results demonstrate that average enamel thickness is similar among human dentitions; no significant differences were detected within tooth positions, which is surprising given developmental differences between European and African canines and premolars. When populations were combined, differences were found in average enamel thickness between maxillary and mandibular premolars, and between canines and premolars within both dental arcades. This finding is potentially due to differences in premolar morphology and a trend of increasing enamel thickness distally throughout the dentition. The finding of limited population variation within tooth positions and significant variation between tooth positions is consistent with previous two-dimensional and three-dimensional studies of human molar enamel thickness. Average enamel thickness in canines and premolars does not differ between the sexes in our sample, although male teeth tend to have larger enamel and dentine cross-sectional areas, enamel–dentine junction lengths, and bi-cervical diameters. Males have significantly greater dentine area and enamel–dentine junction length than females for maxillary canines and premolars. The results of this study suggest that enamel thickness values in mixed-populations of humans are appropriate for comparisons with fossil hominins.
A recent paper by Walker et al. (2009) states that iron-deficiency anaemia can no longer be regarded as being a cause of porotic hyperostosis (PH) or cribra orbitalia (CO). It is argued here that this conclusion is not supported by the current literature on iron-deficiency anaemia and associated haematopoietic responses or consequences to this condition. Indeed, iron-deficiency anaemia is still a plausible candidate in any differential diagnosis of lesions identified as PH and/or CO.
This study deals with the screening of haemoglobinopathies and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency among three population groups of Manipur, namely 302 Pangan (Manipuri Muslim), 300 Bamon (Manipuri Brahmin), and 111 Kabui (tribal) individuals. Blood samples were collected by finger prick method and were screened for abnormal haemoglobins by using the Naked Eye Single Tube Red Cell Osmotic Fragility Test. The male samples of Pangan (136), Bamon (127), and Kabui (51) were also screened for G6PD deficiency by the Fluorescent Spot Test. The alarmingly high frequencies of these two genetic disorders demand an immediate attention towards the general awareness for their prevention and management in Manipur and other neighbouring states.