Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Hum Evol. 1999 May;36(5):549-66.

Brachial and crural indices of European late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic humans.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118, USA. thollid@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu

Abstract

Among recent humans brachial and crural indices are positively correlated with mean annual temperature, such that high indices are found in tropical groups. However, despite inhabiting glacial Europe, the Upper Paleolithic Europeans possessed high indices, prompting Trinkaus (1981) to argue for gene flow from warmer regions associated with modern human emergence in Europe. In contrast, Frayer et al. (1993) point out that Late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Europeans should not exhibit tropically-adapted limb proportions, since, even assuming replacement, their ancestors had experienced cold stress in glacial Europe for at least 12 millennia. This study investigates three questions tied to the brachial and crural indices among Late Pleistocene and recent humans. First, which limb segments (either proximal or distal) are primarily responsible for variation in brachial and crural indices? Second, are these indices reflective of overall limb elongation? And finally, do the Late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Europeans retain relatively and/or absolutely long limbs? Results indicate that in the lower limb, the distal limb segment contributes most of the variability to intralimb proportions, while in the upper limb the proximal and distal limb segments appear to be equally variable. Additionally, brachial and crural indices do not appear to be a good measure of overall limb length, and thus, while the Late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic humans have significantly higher (i.e., tropically-adapted) brachial and crural indices than do recent Europeans, they also have shorter (i.e., cold-adapted) limbs. The somewhat paradoxical retention of "tropical" indices in the context of more "cold-adapted" limb length is best explained as evidence for Replacement in the European Late Pleistocene, followed by gradual cold adaptation in glacial Europe.

PMID:
10222169
DOI:
10.1006/jhev.1998.0289
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center