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J Hum Evol. 2009 Jun;56(6):537-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2009.02.002. Epub 2009 May 15.

Late Pleistocene human evolution in Sicily: comparative morphometric analysis of Grotta di San Teodoro craniofacial remains.

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Laboratorio di Archeoantropologia, Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, Via dei Rossi 26/A, 50018 Scandicci, Firenze, Italy.


The paleoanthropological remains from Grotta di San Teodoro near Acquedolci (province of Messina, Italy) represent the oldest and largest skeletal collection yet found documenting human settlement of Sicily. The sample, attributed to the Late Epigravettian (between 14,000 and 10,000 years B.P.), consists of seven variously complete adult individuals (San Teodoro 1-7). We compare the cranial sample to an array of both prehistoric and recent samples using multivariate techniques including D(2) distance analysis, canonical variate analysis, cluster analysis, and multidimensional scaling. Overall, the San Teodoro cranial sample displays a morphometric pattern close to Western European groups of similar antiquity, in particular those from Central and Southern Italy. The morphometric affinities indicate that these people probably came from peninsular Italy by sea during the Late Epigravettian epoch. An alternative hypothesis is that they descended from immigrants that arrived by land during a low sea level episode corresponding to the maximum W├╝rmian regression, about 18,000 years B.P, with gene flow accounting for the morphological homogeneity with the populations of peninsular Italy. The San Teodoro skeletal sample provides the first reliable evidence for human settlement of Sicily.

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