Highland vs. lowland craniometry in Andean South America: An Ecuadorian case study

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Department or Administrative Unit

Anthropology and Museum Studies

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Previous research on crania of pre-Columbian Peru has demonstrated a significant difference between coastal lowland and Andean highland populations in cranial length. This has not been examined for other Andean countries. In this study, we examined 14 colonial-era crania from the highland city of Cuenca, Ecuador, and compared them with pre-Columbian crania from lowland Ecuador, and highland and lowland Peru to see if the highland-lowland distinction held true for Ecuador. Eight craniometrics from 153 individuals were used in principal component analysis, indicating that the majority of the Cuenca crania were similar to other highland groups. Logistic regression analysis confirmed that 12 out of the 14 Cuenca individuals were native highlanders. These demonstrate that cranial morphology in Ecuador follows the same highland vs. lowland pattern as previously found in Peru. Even after Spanish colonialism, the Andes Mountains provided a barrier for migration and gene flow.


This article was originally published in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports


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