[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