Oral health analysis is one of the principal bioarchaeological lines of investigation to evaluate the interaction between the dynamics of human communities in the past, their environment, and their social structure. These studies represent a relatively recent development in the study of native hunter-gatherers in Argentina. This paper focuses on oral pathology as a contribution to the understanding of the lifestyle diversity of these populations. A sample of human remains from the Chenque I site (Western Pampas, Central Argentina) was studied in order to identify differential patterns by sex, age-at-death, and location of the tooth in the arch. Six variables, considering both teeth and the alveolar tissue, were examined: caries, calculus, wear, periapical lesions, periodontal disease, and antemortem tooth loss. The results indicate that oral health deteriorated more in females. Some divergent patterns were also identified when compared with other contemporary bioarchaeological samples in the region. Both aspects are interpreted in the context of previous proposals that consider the characteristics of hunter-gatherers dynamics just before the Spanish conquest.
Previous studies revealed a high frequency of porotic hyperostosis in hunter-gatherer populations from southern Patagonia. Nevertheless, the systematic recovery of new burials with detailed archaeological and paleodietary contextual information during the last two decades offers new opportunities to explore the prevalence of anemia and its possible variation among populations with different marine and terrestrial hunter-gatherer lifestyles. This paper reports the results of an analysis of porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia in skeletal human remains from this region, discussing their most likely causes in the light of current evidence. The results showed a high prevalence of porotic hyperostosis and a low prevalence of cribra orbitalia, without significant differences between age and sexes. Moreover, marine hunter-gatherers presented a higher frequency of porotic hyperostosis than those individuals associated with terrestrial economies. Nutritional and zoonotic factors are proposed as the most probable causes of the high frequency of anemia observed in individuals with marine-based diets. Although no temporal differences were observed, different possible patterns of health in human native populations in the during-contact period are proposed.
The Middle East and Mediterranean represents one of the most ancient and largest areas of human civilization. Although several genetic studies have been carried out on certain regions of this area, it would be interesting to take advantage of additional global studies, including larger numbers of regions. In this paper we aim to expand previous genetic studies on populations from this area by investigating new populations and providing a global view based on the distribution of CD4 and FXIIIB Alu/STR (short tandem-repeat) compound systems. Haplotype frequencies of these two systems are determined in 352 DNA samples from Libya, Bahrain, and southern Iran. Comparative analyses and MDS plot representation show an evident genetic differentiation among the three population groups studied, i.e. North and South Mediterranean and Middle East. In addition, they assert the genetic richness and differentiation of Libya from other North African populations. Three haplotypes, CD4 90(+), FXIIIB 180(−) and CD4 110(−), were determined to be specific to Middle Eastern populations. The distribution of the two Alu/STR system haplotypes suggests that population movements between the North Mediterranean and Middle East are relatively less important than those involving the South Mediterranean with both the North Mediterranean and Middle East. However, the impact of these population movements is minimal compared to the long-standing settlement of the three population groups that have retained their genetic identity. Anthropological data thus obtained from the use of CD4 and FXIIIB Alu/STR compound systems would reflect the effect of advantages peculiar to these two systems. The determination of their haplotypes in more populations from the Middle East (particularly from the Arabian Peninsula) and from East Asia will provide more details on human evolutionary history.
The Okhotsk people were sedentary hunter-gatherer-fishers who lived and prospered in Sakhalin, Hokkaido, and the Kurile Islands during the fifth–thirteenth centuries AD. They expanded rapidly along the north-eastern coast of Hokkaido where archaeological evidence suggests an increasing dependence on hunting marine mammals. In this study, we present the results of carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses of 18 faunal (including two domesticated dogs) and 58 adult human skeletons excavated from the Moyoro site of the Okhotsk culture in eastern Hokkaido. Although the mean human isotope ratios did not differ between sexes, the variances of carbon isotope ratios were significantly greater in males. Carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios suggest that the Moyoro humans and dogs heavily depended on marine foods for their dietary protein intake. The Bayesian mixing model suggests that humans obtained a maximum of 80–90% of their dietary protein from marine mammals, whereas domesticated dogs obtained 2–33%, 3–40%, and 5–45% of dietary protein from brackish-water fish, marine fish, and marine mammals, respectively. This suggests an avoidance of significant dietary overlap between the sympatrically living humans and dogs at the Moyoro site. Significant maritime adaptation would have enabled the subsistence of the Okhotsk people in the harsh northern environment of Hokkaido.
Procynocephalus and Paradolichopithecus are large Eurasian papionins from the Middle Pliocene to Early Pleistocene. The two genera are regarded as being phylogenetically close, but their phyletic position is still disputed, in particular regarding to which subtribe, Papionina or Macacina, they are close to. Many fragile structures of the nasal region are well preserved in the type specimen of Procynocephalus wimani from the Xin’an locality in China. Computed tomography scans showed that the Xin’an specimen has no maxillary sinus, an inferior meatus extending medially from the slightly superior portion of the maxillary body, and a thick maxillary body with no maxillary fossa. Morphological variation in the nasal region was surveyed in extant papionins. Our analysis showed that the maxillary sinus is found even in Papio/Theropithecus and that its formation is confirmed for all Macaca. The inferior conchae are suspended from the superior portion of the nasal cavity in Papio/Theropithecus and Mandrillus, and the maxillary fossa is developed by major absorption of the maxillary cancellous bone in Papionina. These findings indicate that a given fossil specimen having a maxillary sinus does not always belong to the Macacina lineage, and that a given specimen having a thin maxillary body is closer to the Papionina. Despite the paucity of evidence definitive of its phyletic position, these morphological examinations suggest that Procynocephalus is closer to the lineage of Macacina though it lacks the maxillary sinus. Whereas Paradolichopithecus arvernensis and Paradolichopithecus sushkini show some morphological similarities to and differences from each other and Procynocephalus, their nasal architecture is similar to that seen in the Macacina rather than in the Papionina. The morphological evaluations of the nasal region in African forms are expected to contribute to our understanding of the phyletic relationships and adaptive radiation of the large Eurasian papionins in the Plio–Pleistocene.
The reason for asymmetry of the jugular foramen (JF) size is unclear, with previous suggestions including that handedness may influence development of a larger JF on the ipsilateral side of handedness. Intracranial venous asymmetry has not previously been considered in relation to JF size. We aim to investigate if the asymmetry of the superior sagittal venous sinus (SSVS) drainage is related to JF size. Two hundred and forty-five skulls from collections in Otago, New Zealand (Indian skulls) and Coimbra, Portgual (European skulls) were assessed for JF size and SSVS laterality. Data were analysed to determine relationships between the variables JF symmetry, side of drainage of SSVS (laterality), location of the skull collection, and sex using chi-squared and proportion tests (P < 0.05). Two hundred and forty skulls were included in the final analysis (140 Otago, 100 Coimbra). A significant relationship was seen between larger JF and SSVS laterality, with ipsilateral SSVS laterality and larger JF more frequent (54.6%). Differences were noted between location: Otago had significantly more right-sided combinations (66.4% vs. 38%), Coimbra had significantly more that were equal-sided (10% vs. 4.3%). JF size was significantly different across the samples: a larger right JF was more frequent (60%). There were also significant differences between location: Otago showed a higher incidence of larger, right JF (74.3% vs. 40%), while Coimbra had more that were equal (34% vs. 5.7%). Drainage side of SSVS was different across, but not between, skull locations; sex had no effect on any variable. The findings demonstrate an association between the ipsilateral SSVS drainage laterality and a larger JF, and support previous findings of asymmetry in JF size. Further investigations are necessary using imaging techniques to explore the nature of the association between JF asymmetry and SSVS drainage laterality.