Xinjiang, the most northwest provincial administrative area of China, was the area where the oriental people met the occidental. The populations in Xinjiang exhibit very high genetic diversity. Previous study revealed that the eastern Xinjiang populations of the Bronze Age were mixed by the Eastern and the Western Eurasians. However, few studies have been performed to reveal when the population admixture started and how far to the west it reached. In this paper, we studied 148 craniofacial traits of 18 skulls from the Bronze Age Liushui graveyard in Khotan (Keriya County) in the southwest of Xinjiang. Seventeen craniometrical parameters of the Khotan samples were then compared with those of other ancient samples from around Xinjiang using dendrogram cluster analysis, principal components analysis, and multidimensional scaling. The results indicated that population sample of Liushui graveyard was mixed by the Western and Eastern Eurasians with about 79% contribution from the east. Therefore, we demonstrated that population admixture between east and west Eurasia can be traced back to as early as 1000 BC in southwest Xinjiang.


craniometry morphology population admixture Khotan Kingdom Bronze Age

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© The Author(s) 2012