Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 299–306 | Cite as

Craniometrical evidence for population admixture between Eastern and Western Eurasians in Bronze Age southwest Xinjiang

  • JingZe Tan
  • LiMing Li
  • JianBo Zhang
  • WenQing Fu
  • HaiJuan Guan
  • Xue Ao
  • LingE Wang
  • XinHua Wu
  • KangXin Han
  • Li Jin
  • Hui Li
Open Access
Invited Article Geology


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 

Supplementary material (51 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 51.3 KB.


  1. 1.
    Shirokogoroff S M. Anthropology of Northern China. Royal Asiatic Society. Shanghai: North China Branch, Extra Vol. 2, 1923Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ai Q, Xiao H, Zhao J, et al. A survey on physical characteristics of Uigur nationality (in Chinese). Acta Anthropol Sin, 1993, 12: 357–365Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Yao Y G, Kong Q P, Wang C Y, et al. Different matrilineal contributions to genetic structure of ethnic groups in the silk road region in China. Mol Biol Evol, 2004, 21: 2265–2280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Yang L, Tan S, Yu H, et al. Gene admixture in ethnic populations in upper part of Silk Road revealed by mtDNA polymorphism. Sci China Ser C-Life Sci, 2008, 51: 435–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Li H, Cho K, Kidd J R, et al. Genetic Landscape of Eurasia and “Admixture” in Uyghurs. Am J Hum Genet, 2009, 84: 934–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Xu S, Jin W, Jin L. Haplotype-sharing analysis showing Uyghurs are unlikely genetic donors. Mol Biol Evol, 2009, 26: 2197–2206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tan J Z, Han K X. Physical characters and ethnic affiliations of several ancient nationalities in North China (in Chinese). Commun Contemp Anthropol, 2007, 1: 58–66Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mallory J P, Mair V H. The Tarim Mummies. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2000Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    He H Q, Jin J Z, Xu C, et al. Study on mtDNA polymorphism of ancient human bone from hami of Xinjiang, China 3200 BP (in Chinese). Acta Anthropol Sin, 2003, 22: 329–337Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Li C, Li H, Cui Y, et al. Evidence that a West-East admixed population lived in the Tarim Basin as early as the early Bronze Age. BMC Biol, 2010, 8: 15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Zhang F, Xu Z, Tan J, et al. Prehistorical East-West admixture of maternal lineages in a 2500-year-old population in Xinjiang. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2010, 142: 314–320Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Xinjiang Archaeological Team, IA, CAS. Liushui Cemetery of the Bronze Age in Yutian County, Xinjiang (in Chinese). Kaogu (Chinese Archaeology), 2006, 7: 31–38Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Alekseev V P, Debets G F. Craniometry: Methodology of Anthropological Research. Moscow: Science Press, 1964Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shao X Q. Handbook of Anthropometry (in Chinese). Shanghai: Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing House, 1985Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Baba H. Anthropology Course, Supplement 1, Anthropometry II, Human Skeleton. Tokyo: Yuzankaku Press, 1991Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kolar J C, Salter E M. Craniofacial Anthropometry: Practical Measurement of the Head and Face for Clinical, Surgical, and Research Use. Springfield IL: C.C. Thomas, 1997Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ginzburg V V, Trofimova T A. Paleoanthropology of Central Asia. Moscow: Science Press, 1972Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Han K X. The collected papers about the racial anthropological study of the ancient Silk Road inhabitants (in Chinese). Ürümqi: Xinjiang Renmin Chubanshe, 1993Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Han K X. Anthropological characters of the human skulls from ancient cemetery at Qawrighul. Xinjiang (in Chinese). Acta Archaeol Sin, 1986, 34: 361–384Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Han K X. Anthropological characters of the human crania from Kroran site, Xinjiang (in Chinese). Acta Anthropol Sin, 1986, 5: 227–242Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Han K X, Pan Q F. Anthropological materials from Wusun tombs in Zhaosu, Xinjiang (in Chinese). Acta Archaeol Sin, 1987, 4: 503–523Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Han K X. Racial characters of the human skulls from Sampul cemetery in LuoPu County, Xinjiang (in Chinese). Acta Anthropol Sin, 1988, 7: 239–248Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Han K X. Human skulls from Shambabay cemetery in Tajik County (in Chinese). Xinjiang Wenwu, 1988, 1: 32–35Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Shao X Z, Cui J, Yang Z J. The ancient human skulls from Shanpula commune of Lopu county, southern Xinjiang (in Chinese). Acta Anthropol Sin, 1988, 7: 26–38Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Han K X. Anthropological material from the Yanbulaq site in Hami, Xinjiang (in Chinese). Acta Archaeol Sin, 1990, 38: 371–395Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Han K X. Racial anthropological characters of Saka, Wusun, Huns and Turki (in Chinese). The Western Regions Studies, 1992, 2: 3–23Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Han K X, Zhang J. The Study of Racial Characteristics of Human Skulls from Ancient Cemetery at Charwighul, Hejingcounty, Xinjing (in Chinese). Beijing: Ocean Press, 1997. 23–38Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wang M Z. Xinjiang Chawuhu-A Large-scale Clan Cemetery Excavation Report (in Chinese). Beijing: Oriental Press, 1999. 299–337Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Han K X, Pan Q F. Study on the human bones from middle and small tombs in Anyang Yinxu. In: Yang X M, ed. Craniology of Anyang Yinxu (in Chinese). Beijing: Wenwu Press, 1984. 50–375Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zhang J. A racio-typological study of the human skulls from the cemetery of Kayue culture at Lijiashan, Qinghai (in Chinese). Acta Archaeol Sin, 1993, 3: 381–413Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Han K X. A study of the human bones from the ancient cemetery on Ahatla Hill in Xunhua, Qinghai (in Chinese). Acta Archaeol Sin, 2000, 3: 395–420Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Han K X, Tan J Z, Zhang F. The Racio-Anthropological Study on Ancient West-North Area, China (in Chinese). Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 2005Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Pritchard J K, Stephens M, Donnelly P. Inference of population structure using multilocus genotype data. Genetics, 2000, 155: 945–959Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Chen L, Li H, Xia Y M, et al. Genetic mode of nasal shape (in Chinese). J Fudan Uni Nat Sci, 2002, 41: 92–96Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • JingZe Tan
    • 1
    • 2
  • LiMing Li
    • 1
  • JianBo Zhang
    • 1
  • WenQing Fu
    • 1
  • HaiJuan Guan
    • 2
  • Xue Ao
    • 2
  • LingE Wang
    • 1
  • XinHua Wu
    • 3
  • KangXin Han
    • 3
  • Li Jin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hui Li
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Contemporary Anthropology (Ministry of Education), School of Life SciencesFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Society of AnthropologyShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Institute of ArchaeologyChinese Academy of Social SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations