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Temporal bone variation in Australian aborigines and other modern populations : implications for the origins of modern humans

Robinson, Rob Mary; (1995) Temporal bone variation in Australian aborigines and other modern populations : implications for the origins of modern humans. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The origin of the Australian aborigine has important bearing on the origin(s) of all modern humans. Multiregionalists cite the apparent morphological similarities between modern Australians and S. E. Asian Homo erectus in support of the view that modern humans in Africa, Europe and Asia arose from mid-Pleistocene forebears in their respective regions. The temporal bone is unique in Asian H. erectus. This study focuses on temporal bone variation in 11 modern human populations, and investigates (i) interdependence among temporal bone variables and between temporal and non-temporal variables, and (ii) whether Australians are distinctive in temporal bone morphology from other modern populations in a way which supports the claim of continuity with S.E. Asian H.erectus. The main findings from the univariate and multivariate analyses undertaken in this study are as follows: Modern populations can be discriminated by temporal variables alone. This discrimination is almost as effective as that based on a wider selection of cranial variables and is not improved by size-adjustment of the temporal variables. Among the temporal features found to be characteristic of Australians, a long, thick, acutely angled mastoid contributes most to their discrimination from all other modern populations; a thick tympanic lateral rim is also important in distinguishing them from all but Eskimos. Of the modern populations considered, Australians have one of the most distinctive temporal bones and show greater similarity to Africans than to Europeans (Poundbury) or Chinese. Only Eskimo temporal features, however, can be regarded as remarkably different from those of all other modern populations. Australians show greater resemblance in the temporal region to other modern humans than to Asian H.erectus, and in no one temporal feature are they found to be the most similar of modern human populations to H.erectus. These findings offer no support for the Multiregional interpretation of the evolution of anatomically modern humans.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Temporal bone variation in Australian aborigines and other modern populations : implications for the origins of modern humans
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by EThOS.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10041867
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