Tierra Del Fuegians: Comparative Study of Frontal Bone Morphology
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There exists a large disagreement among scholars concerning the origin of the Tierra del Fuegian (TDF) population of South America. This population is distinctive because its members possess extremely robust crania compared to other populations of the Americas. Although most anthropologists agree that a northeastern Asian population migrated to the New World, there is still much debate over the origin of modern Native Americans and their relationship to one another. The frontal bone has been proved to provide valuable information indicating morphological and, by inference, genetic differences among populations. This study seeks to determine if variation in TDF frontal bone morphology lies outside the range of variation of other New World populations. Cranial outlines of adult males and females were collected from Point Hope, Labrador, the North American Southwest and Northeast, California, Mexico, Peru, Central and South America, Australia, Polynesia and Tierra del Fuego. The midsagittal (nasion to bregma) outline was taken using a modified pantograph designed by Dr. Sheela Athreya. The outlines were then digitized and analyzed using Procrustes analysis. If the frontal bones exhibit similar enough characteristics independent of size, then it will support the hypothesis that Tierra del Fuegians and other Native American populations are descendent from the same migratory population.
Condon-Heck, Emilie Fenn (2014). Tierra Del Fuegians: Comparative Study of Frontal Bone Morphology. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from