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Biological Relationships between Foragers and Farmers of South-Central North America: Nonmetric Dental Traits

  • Matthew Taylor (a1) and Darrell Creel (a2)

Studies of relationships between archeology and biology in the south-central North America can enhance interpretations of social interactions between foraging and farming groups. The present report analyzes the adult dentition of hunter-gatherer populations from what is now Texas and compares them with adjacent samples of agriculturalists. These agriculturallist samples represent the Southwestern (Mimbres-Mogollon) and Southeastern (Caddo) cultural spheres. Nonmetric dental traits provide a useful means for evaluating the biological similarities between different populations. Mahalanobis distance analysis of these traits, drawn from 902 individuals, reveal relatively little morphological similarity between hunter-gatherer and farming groups. Except for a sample of Archaic foragers from the gulf coastal plain, hunter-gatherer samples are more similar to each other than to adjacent agriculturalists. Results suggest that Archaic populations were morphologically diverse, while there was relatively little gene flow between hunter-gatherer and farming populations during the Late Prehistoric period. The overall dissimilarity between hunter-gatherer, Mimbres, and Caddo samples suggests that each may have arisen from a relatively distant common ancestry.

Estudios de relaciones entre arqueología y biología en el sur-centro de Norte América pueden mejorar las interpretaciones sobre las interacciones sociales entre grupos forrajeros y campesinos. El presente informe analiza la dentición adulta de poblaciones de cazadores-recolectores de lo que hoy es Texas y las compara con muestras adyacentes de agricultores. Estas muestras de agricultores representan a las esferas culturales del Suroeste (Mimbre-Mogollón) y el Sureste (Caddo). Los rasgos dentales no-métricos proveen un modo útil para evaluar las semejanzas biológicas entre distintas poblaciones. El análisis de distancia de Mahalanobis de estos rasgos, efectuado en 902 individuos, revela relativamente poca similitud morfológica entre los grupos cazadores recolectores y los grupos campesinos. Excepto por una muestra de forrajeros arcaicos de la planicie costera del golfo, las muestras de cazadores-recolectores son más semejantes entre sí que con los agricultores vecinos. Los resultados sugieren que las poblaciones del Arcaico eran morfológicamente diversas, y que hubo relativamente poco flujo genético entre las poblaciones de cazadores-recolectores y las de agricultores durante el período Prehistórico Tardío. La disimilitud total entre las muestras de cazadores-recolectores, Mimbres, y Caddo, sugiere que cada uno puede haber surgido de un ancestro común relativamente distante.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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