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Sci China Life Sci. 2013 Jun;56(6):541-51. doi: 10.1007/s11427-013-4471-7. Epub 2013 Apr 10.

Physical characteristics of Chinese Hakka.

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College of Life Science, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Animal and Plant Resistance, Tianjin 300387, China.


Using standard and internationally validated methods, 86 anthropologic characteristics were determined in 650 male (305 from urban areas and 345 from rural areas) and 704 female (331 from urban areas, 373 from rural areas) Chinese Hakka adults living in Guangdong and Jiangxi. The data were used to calculate 24 anthropologic indices, which were analyzed statistically. The physical characteristics of Hakka subjects were analyzed and compared with reference ethnic data. There were four main findings of this study. First, a small proportion of Hakka adults had an eye fold on the upper eyelid, but a large proportion had a mongoloid fold. The eye slits were narrow in most adults, had a medium nasal root height and straight bridges, and most of the external angles were prominent. The nasal base was upturned in most men. The distributions of the three types of nasal base in women were similar. The proportions of subjects with middle and high alae nasi heights were high and similar. Males with a maximum nostril diameter were mostly classified as transverse and oblique, while many women were classified as transverse and had relatively wide alae nasi. The round lobe type was the most common. Upper lip skin height was mostly classified as medium. Lips were classified as thin. The hair was black, eyes were brown, and the skin was yellowish. Second, the head length was long in male Hakka. The minimum frontal breadth, face breadth, lip height, and interocular breadth were similar to those of North-Asian populations. Meanwhile, head breadth, morphological facial height, nose breadth, mouth breadth, and nose height were similar to those of South-Asian populations. Head length was long in female Hakka. The minimum frontal breadth, face breadth, lip height, and interocular breadth were similar to those of North-Asian populations. Head breadth, nose breadth, and mouth breadth were similar to those of South-Asian populations. Third, the stature of male and female Hakka in urban and rural areas was classified as medium. The proportions of male and female Hakka classified as mesocephaly (length-breadth index of the head), hypsicephalic type, metriocephalic type (breadth-height index of the head) mesorrhiny, long trunk, subbrachyskelic type, broad shoulder breadth, and narrow distance between iliac crests were higher than those of other types. Finally, principal component analyses showed that the physical characteristics of Hakka were between those of South-Asian and North-Asian ethnic populations, but were generally closer to those of North-Asian populations in China.

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