[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this work is to explore the pattern of craniofacial morphometric variation and the relationships among five prehistoric Sardinian groups dated from Late Neolithic to the Nuragic Period (Middle and Late Bronze Age), in order to formulate hypotheses on the peopling history of Sardinia. Biological relationships with coeval populations of central peninsular Italy were also analysed to detect influences from and towards extra-Sardinian sources. Furthermore, comparison with samples of contemporary populations from Sardinia and from continental Italy provided an indication of the trend leading to the final part of the peopling history. Finally, Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic samples were included in the analyses to compare the prehistoric Sardinians with some of their potential continental ancestors. The analysis is based on multivariate techniques including Mahalanobis D(2) distance, non-parametric multidimensional scaling (MDS) and principal component analysis (PCA). The results showed the tendency to progressive differentiation between Sardinian groups and peninsular Italian groups, with the possible exception of a discontinuity showed by the Bonnànaro (Early Bronze Age) Sardinian sample. Several aspects of the morphological results were found to agree with the current genetic evidence available for the present-day Sardinian population and a Nuragic sample: (1) biological divergence between the Sardinian and peninsular Italian populations; (2) similarity/continuity among Neolithic, Bronze Age and recent Sardinians; (3) biological separation between the Nuragic and Etruscan populations; (4) contribution of a Palaeo-Mesolithic gene pool to the genetic structure of current Sardinians.
Homo: internationale Zeitschrift fur die vergleichende Forschung am Menschen 10/2010; 61(6):385-412. · 0.96 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The site of Grotta d'Oriente, Island of Favignana, Sicily has yielded the complete skeleton of an adult female (OB) dated to the Mesolithic age. The cranial morphometry of this individual can provide us with some useful information about the peopling of Sicily in the Early Holocene period.
Morphological affinities of OB and other Sicilian Mesolithic specimens were assessed to verify hypotheses concerning the early peopling of Sicily.
Craniofacial metric data were employed in a comparative analysis with European Upper Palaeolithic (UP), Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Copper/Bronze age samples, and contemporary Italians. Both a model-free and a model-bound approach were used not only to calculate craniometric distances, but also to assess the role played by gene flow and drift to produce the resulting pattern of variations and relationships.
A Sicilian Mesolithic (SM) sample, including OB, resulted morphologically very close to an Italian Late UP comparative group. A general similarity among Western/Central European UP and Mesolithic groups was also detected.
Intense gene flow among hunter-gatherer populations accounts for close resemblances among various UP and Mesolithic groups. The beginning of a regional characterization is suggested by the morphological similarity between Italian Late UP and SM, and by decreasing gene flow among populations during the transition from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Mesolithic period.
Annals of Human Biology 06/2010; 37(3):403-26. · 1.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The paleoanthropological remains from Grotta di San Teodoro near Acquedolci (province of Messina, Italy) represent the oldest and largest skeletal collection yet found documenting human settlement of Sicily. The sample, attributed to the Late Epigravettian (between 14,000 and 10,000 years B.P.), consists of seven variously complete adult individuals (San Teodoro 1-7). We compare the cranial sample to an array of both prehistoric and recent samples using multivariate techniques including D(2) distance analysis, canonical variate analysis, cluster analysis, and multidimensional scaling. Overall, the San Teodoro cranial sample displays a morphometric pattern close to Western European groups of similar antiquity, in particular those from Central and Southern Italy. The morphometric affinities indicate that these people probably came from peninsular Italy by sea during the Late Epigravettian epoch. An alternative hypothesis is that they descended from immigrants that arrived by land during a low sea level episode corresponding to the maximum Würmian regression, about 18,000 years B.P, with gene flow accounting for the morphological homogeneity with the populations of peninsular Italy. The San Teodoro skeletal sample provides the first reliable evidence for human settlement of Sicily.
Journal of Human Evolution 06/2009; 56(6):537-50. · 4.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study describes human skeletal remains from Riparo della Rossa, a rock shelter in the Marche region (Central Italy). The remains consist of a cranial vault and a few non-articulated postcranial bones, possibly belonging to the same adult individual. As the cranial vault showed some morphological features that are unusual for a modern human (marked prominence of the supraorbital region, very prominent nasal bones and rather high thickness of the vault), an accurate anthropological analysis and quantification of the antiquity of the bones were required. The remains were dated with two different absolute dating methods, AMS (14)C and (235)U-(231)Pa non-destructive gamma-ray spectrometry (NDGRS), which produced discordant results: the uncalibrated (14)C dating produced 5690 +/- 80 BP for the cranial vault and 6110 +/- 80 BP for the clavicle; the NDGRS dating produced 10,000 +/- 3000 BP for the cranial vault. The sex discriminant morphological characters on the skull are not unequivocal, though the masculine ones appear more evident. The aims of the present paper are: to provide a morphological and metric description of the remains; to interpret their unusual morphological features; to attempt to attribute them to male or female sex and to one of the possible prehistoric cultural groups, according to dating results (Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic or Neolithic). The attribution was obtained by a Bayesian procedure taking into account the reliability of the combined information of morphological/metric features and absolute dating results. The results suggest that the Riparo della Rossa remains are best attributed to a male individual of the Neolithic age.
HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology 02/2007; 58(1):13-32. · 0.54 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nel 1957 C. Gini propone una soluzione allo storico enigma della scomparsa delle colonie vichinghe in Groenlandia attraverso lo squilibrio dei sessi; suppone che tale squilibrio sia dovuto alle oscillazioni casuali nel rapporto dei sessi tra i nati e tra i morti. In questo lavoro l'ipotesi del Gini viene studiata utilizzando il paradigma Bayesiano. Ricorrendo a fonti di demografia storica, per simulazione, sono state ottenute le distribuzioni a priori per il rapporto dei sessi e per l'ammontare totale della popolazione. Le distribuzioni a priori sono quindi state aggiornate con un campione archeo-antropologico. I risultati danno evidenza all'ipotesi del Gini. In 1957 C. Gini suggested that the historical enigma of the Viking colonies in Greenland could be explained by sex disequilibrium. Gini supposed the disequilibrium to be the consequence of random irregularities in the births and deaths sex ratio. In this paper Gini's hypothesis has been tested using the Bayesian paradigm. The prior probability distribution of the ratio R = (male/(male+female)) and of the total W = (male+female) was obtained via simulation. This prior probability was updated using archaeo-anthropological data and a rather natural likelihood model. It is worth noticing that the posterior on R is strongly asymmetrical with respect to 0.5 and that the posterior on W is stochastically dominated by the prior. Such results support Gini's hypothesis. En 1957 Gini proposa une solution de l'énigme historique de la disparition des colonies Vikings en Groenland, à travers le déséquilibre des sexes, supposant que tel déséquilibre soit dû aux oscillations liées au hasard du rapport des sexes. Dans ce travail l'hypothèse de Gini est testée en utilisant le paradigme Bayesien. Par des sources de la démographie historique on a obtenu, par simulation, les distributions à priori pour le rapport des sexes et pour le montant total de la population. Un échantillon archeo-anthropologique a été utilisée pour obtenir le distributions à posteriori. Les résultats donnent évidence à l'hypothèse de Gini.