Understanding the phylogenetic relationship between Hokkaido Ainu and Ryukyu islanders has been of great interest in human genetics, archaeology, and anthropology. We examined short tandem repeat (STR) polymorphisms on autosomes and Y-chromosomes for Ainu, and compared this with data from Ryukyu islanders. A statistical test for nine autosomal (A-STR) loci gave no indication that the Ainu had experienced any bottleneck effect(s). The genetic distances (Rst) based on the A-STR data consistently showed substantial differentiation between the Ainu and all other populations. The haplotype analysis based on Y-chromosomal (Y-STR) data revealed 10 distinct haplotypes found in 19 Ainu males; 7 out of 10 were Ainu-specific haplotypes, whereas two haplotypes were shared with two males from main-island Okinawa and Miyako island, respectively, indicating a strong, close relationship between the Ainu and the Ryukyu islanders. The time to the most recent common ancestor of the Y-lineages obtained in the Ainu and the Ryukyu islanders was estimated to be 37745 years ago. Overall, the A-STR showed uniqueness of the Ainu, and the Y-STR haplotypes revealed strong evidence for a link between the two indigenous populations of the Hokkaido and the Ryukyu islands.
We characterized 2005 individuals from nine populations in the region of Tlemcen in Western Algeria for the ABO, rhesus, MNSs, and Duffy blood groups, in association with genetic traits. The results were compared to those for other populations in Algeria, North Africa, and Southern Europe, in order to situate and clarify the genetic status of this region. Principal-component analyses and phylogenetic trees of the matrices of the genetic distances, on the regional and Mediterranean scales, reveal strong homogeneity at the regional level and convergence between North African populations. This indicates high genetic affinities among these populations. This study highlights the differences between the two sides of the Mediterranean, probably due to the independent peopling history of these populations after they had settled. The resulting genetic structure of these populations is best explained by a combination of gene flow, ecology, and history.
A bi-level nasal floor, although present in most Pleistocene and recent human samples, reaches its highest frequency among the western Eurasian Neandertals and has been considered a feature distinctive of them. Early modern humans, in contrast, tend to feature a level (or sloping) nasal floor. Sufficiently intact maxillae are rare among eastern Eurasian Pleistocene humans, but several fossils provide nasal floor configurations. The available eastern Eurasian Late Pleistocene early modern humans have predominantly level nasal floors, similar to western early modern humans. Of the four observable eastern Eurasian archaic Homo maxillae (Sangiran 4, Chaoxian 1, Xujiayao 1, and Chang-yang 1), three have the bi-level pattern and the fourth is scored as bi-level/sloping. It therefore appears that bi-level nasal floors were common among Pleistocene archaic humans, and a high frequency of them is not distinctive of the Neandertals.
The present study determines the inter-and intra-population affinities or variations among the diverse population groups of India. The major goal of the present study was to understand the peopling of India and its role in the peopling of Southeast Asia using 11 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers. A total of 950 unrelated individuals belonging to 19 population groups having varied ethnic, linguistic, and geographic backgrounds were chosen for the present study. All the studied sites, except HpaI 3592, are found to be polymorphic in the data set. High frequencies of M haplogroup are found among the South Indian populations, whereas N haplogroup is found to be high among the North Indian populations. Sub-haplogroups C and D of M are found only in the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Northeast population groups, suggesting their probable migration from Central Asia. Sub-haplogroups A and B of N are shared by both Northeast and North Indian population groups. The sub-haplogroups of M and N are absent among the South Indian and East Indian populations except the Thoti of the South India Dravidian tribe. The Northeast Indian populations exhibit the highest haplotypic diversity, whereas the South and East Indian populations have the lowest haplotypic diversity. The study provides evidence for a common maternal genetic substratum of Indian populations with probable differential admixture from Eurasia, i.e Europe and Asia, with a decreasing trend from North to South India. Sub-haplogroups of M and N and 9 bp deletion frequency patterns suggest gene flow from East Asia to India was restricted only to Northeast India and not suggest significant movement of people from India to East Asia through Northeast India.
We present the definitive description of the hind limb elements of the Nacholapithecus kerioi holotype (KNM-BG 35250) from the middle Miocene of Kenya. Previously, it has been noted that the postcranial (i.e. the phalanges, spine, and shoulder girdle) anatomy of N. kerioi shows greater affinity to other early/middle Miocene African hominoids, collectively called ‘non-specialized pronograde arboreal quadrupeds,’ than to extant hominoids. This was also the case for the hind limb. However, N. kerioi exhibits a unique combination of postcranial characters that distinguish this species from other early/middle Miocene African hominoids. The femoral neck has a high angle, but is relatively short, though the adaptive meaning of this form is not readily understood. In the distal femur, the shape of the patellar surface and symmetry of the femoral condylar widths suggest that the knee was not typically abducted but assumed more variable movements and/or postures. Whereas the morphologies of the talocrural and intertarsal joints are generally similar to those of the other fossil hominoids, the tibial malleolus is extremely thick and asymmetry of the talar trochlea groove is more emphasized due to a more prominent lateral trochlear rim than in Proconsul and other African fossil hominoids. The distal foot segment is more elongated. The (non-hallucal) metatarsals appear relatively gracile due to the elongation. The proximal joints of these metatarsals are, nonetheless, large. Ligamentous attachments of the tarsal/metatarsal bones are generally well developed. The distal tarsal row, which is represented only by the medial cuneiform, though, is extremely large for the presumed body mass. In terms of function, the femur, ankle, and tarsal joints are interpreted behaviorally to represent a slow-moving arboreal quadruped. However, the foot of N. kerioi appears to be more specialized for inverted grasping and subvertical support use. All of these foot features are suggestive of a greater role for antiprono-grade activities in N. kerioi relative to other Miocene ‘pronograde arboreal quadrupeds.’