Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007 Oct;134(2):285-91.

Brief communication: "Zuzu" strikes again--morphological affinities of the early holocene human skeleton from Toca dos Coqueiros, Piaui, Brazil.

Author information

Instituto de Investigaciones Arqueológicas y Museo-Universidad Católica del Norte, Calle Gustavo LePaige 380, 141-0000 San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.


The Serra da Capivara National Park in northeastern Brazil is one of the richest archaeological regions in South America. Nonetheless, so far only two paleoindian skeletons have been exhumed from the local rockshelters. The oldest one (9870 +/- 50 BP; CAL 11060 +/- 50), uncovered in Toca dos Coqueiros and known as "Zuzu," represents a rare opportunity to explore the biological relationships of paleoindian groups living in northeastern Brazil. As previously demonstrated, South and Central America Paleoindians present skull morphology distinct from the one found nowadays in Amerindians and similar to Australo-Melanesians. Here we test the hypothesis that Zuzu shows higher morphological affinity with Paleoindians. However, Zuzu is a controversial skeleton since previous osteological assessments have disagreed on several aspects, especially regarding its sex. Thus, we compared Zuzu to males and females independently. Morphological affinities were assessed through clustering of principal components considering 18 worldwide populations and through principal components analysis of the individual dispersion of five key regions for America's settlement. The results obtained do not allow us to refute the hypothesis, expanding the known geographical dispersion of the Paleoindian morphology into northeast Brazil. To contribute to the discussion regarding Zuzu's sex, a new estimation is presented based on visual inspection of cranial and post-cranial markers, complemented by a discriminant analysis of its morphology in relation to the paleoindian sample. The results favor a male classification and are consistent with the mortuary offerings found in the burial, yet do not agree with a molecular determination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center