Evolution of cranial macromorphoscopic trait variation in modern humans

Colloquium by Dr. Hugo Reyes-Centeno


Time: Thursday, 22.07.2021, 4pm sharp (please note the change in time)

Speaker: Dr. Hugo Reyes-Centeno

Title: Evolution of cranial macromorphoscopic trait variation in modern humans

Cranial macromorphoscopic traits are non-metric, morphological markers routinely used to assess population provenience of modern human skeletons. While a suite of statistical approaches applied to quantitative trait scores has underscored their utility in forensic investigations, little is known about the etiology and evolution of cranial macromorphoscopic traits. In order to investigate the evolutionary mechanisms that produce their variation in modern human populations, here I quantify the association between commonly used macromorphoscopic traits and genomic variation at neutral genetic loci. In addition, I quantify the utility of each macromorphoscopic trait and combinations thereof, accounting for stochasticity inherent to an evolutionary model. Results show a statistically significant relationship between macromorphoscopic trait variation and neutral genomic variation (r = 0.64, p = 0.009), similar to previous studies on other cranio-dental anatomical makers. Macromorphoscopic traits expressed in the zygomatic region were found to have the highest association with neutral genomic variation. These results provide support for the utility of macromorphoscopic traits in reflecting human population history and further isolate those that have evolved under neutrality.


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