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Peopling of the Americas: A new approach to assessing dental morphological variation in Asian and Native American populations

NCJ Number
American Journal of Biological Anthropology Volume: Online Dated: 2023 Pages: 1-22
Date Published
22 pages

This paper discuss a new approach to assessing dental morphological variation in Asian and Native American populations.


Through biodistance analyses, anthropologists have used dental morphology to elucidate how people moved into and throughout the Americas. The authors of this study apply a method that focuses on individuals rather than sample frequencies through the application rASUDAS2, based on a naïve Bayes' algorithm. Using the database of C.G. Turner II, the authors calculated the probability that an individual could be assigned to one of seven biogeographic groups (American Arctic, North & South America, East Asia, Southeast Asia & Polynesia, Australo-Melanesia, Western Eurasia, & Sub-Saharan Africa) through rASUDAS2. The frequency of classifications for each biogeographic group was determined for 1418 individuals from six regions across Asia and the Americas. Southeast Asians show mixed assignments but rarely to American Arctic or “American Indian.” East Asians are assigned to East Asia half the time while 30% are assigned as Native American. People from the American Arctic and North & South America are assigned to Arctic America or non-Arctic America 75%–80% of the time, with 10%–15% classified as East Asian. All Native American groups have a similar degree of morphological affinity to East Asia, as 10%–15% are classified as East Asian. East Asians are classified as Native American in 30% of cases. Individuals in the Western Hemisphere are decreasingly classified as Arctic the farther south they are located. Equivalent levels of classification as East Asian across all Native American groups suggests one divergence between East Asians and the population ancestral to all Native Americans. Non-arctic Native American groups are derived from the Arctic population, which represents the Native American founder group. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023