Detecting interregionally diversifying natural selection on modern human cranial form by using matched molecular and morphometric data

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Abstract

This comparison of morphological and neutral genetic variation in 10 human populations was designed to test a neutral hypothesis of cranial evolution in living and recent humans and to explain deviations from neutrality where detected. Overall, among-population differences in extant Homo sapiens cranial morphology are proportional to among-population differences in neutral molecular characteristics. For most of the populations studied, cranial morphology varies among regions in a manner consistent with neutral expectations. Removal of the effects of shared population history and structure by using the partial Mantel's test, however, does not remove the correlation between some aspects of cranial morphology and a measure of coldness of climate. The excess differentiation is most apparent in those population comparisons that involve a Siberian population living in an extremely cold environment. This finding suggests the action of natural selection, associated with regional variation in temperature, leading to among-population differentiation in excess of neutral expectations for some cranial dimensions. Those dimensions reflect the breadth of the skull, cranial vault size and shape, and aspects of nasal morphology. Although morphology for most of the world appears to vary among populations in accordance with neutral expectations in the context of population structure and history, morphology of the Siberian population appears to have undergone adaptation by natural selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12824-12829
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume101
Issue number35
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 31 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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