Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 52, Issue 12, pp 1661–1668

Craniofacial morphological microevolution of Holocene populations in northern China

  • Wu XiuJie 
  • Liu Wu 
  • Zhang QuanChao 
  • Zhu Hong 
  • Christopher J. Norton
Articles Geology

DOI: 10.1007/s11434-007-0227-8

Cite this article as:
Wu, X., Liu, W., Zhang, Q. et al. CHINESE SCI BULL (2007) 52: 1661. doi:10.1007/s11434-007-0227-8

Abstract

In order to better understand microevolutionary processes in Holocene Chinese craniofacial mor-phology, an analysis has been done on 21 metric traits on Neolithic (n=161), Bronze Age (n=423) and modern (n=134) adult male skulls from northern China. The results indicate that the physical characters of these Chinese populations evolved throughout the Holocene. From the Neolithic to Bronze Age to present day, general trends include: cranial and facial sizes decrease; the nose gets narrower and longer; the orbits become narrower and higher; the head is more globular. The expression of the cranial features varies between the different time periods. The decrease in cranial size primarily occurred from the Bronze Age to present day. However, the decrease in facial size, the narrowing of the nose, and the elevation of the orbits took place throughout the Holocene. These traits are likely still evolving. This evolving pattern of the cranial features for the Holocene Chinese populations is similar to that found elsewhere in the world. The decrease in overall craniofacial size is associated with changes in climate and diet. In addition, it is possible that the craniofacial morphological microevolution is controlled by human evolutionary mechanisms.

Keywords

Holocene Chinese populations microevolution skull morphology 

Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wu XiuJie 
    • 1
  • Liu Wu 
    • 1
  • Zhang QuanChao 
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhu Hong 
    • 2
  • Christopher J. Norton
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Research Center for Chinese Frontier ArchaeologyJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  3. 3.Laboratory of Quaternary PaleontologyNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA