Dental variation of native populations from northern Spanish Florida
Griffin, Mark Cline
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The primary purpose of this thesis is to estimate population distance between two native American skeletal samples using dental non-metric traits as the principal comparative features. These samples represent the native American inhabitants of two Spanish missions, namely Santa Catalina de Guale (St. Catherines Island, Georgia) and Santa Catalina de Guale de Santa Maria (Amelia Island, Florida). Ethnographic and archaeological evidence indicates that the two samples are temporally successive (Santa Catalina de Guale: A.D. 1565 - A.D. 1680; Santa Catalina de Guale de Santa Maria: A.D. 1686 A.D. 1702) and derived from the same historic population. Other studies have shown that early contact populations in the region experienced elevated stress levels (Larsen et al. n.d., Griffin and Larsen 1989, Shavit 1988). The population distance is estimated in order to assess the affinity of the two samples. The levels of stress will be evaluated as reflected by dental side asymmetry and reduction in morphological complexity. Stress, as used here, is restricted to the physiological aspects of biological stress: disease, nutrition, and general health. Systematic inter- and intra- population sex and age variation is examined to determine their effect on the population distance estimation. The results of this study indicate that the two samples are closely genetically affiliated. Inter- and intra- population sex and age variation is present but is not statistically significant (p<0.05). Other research has demonstrated that environmental stress can affect dental asymmetry expression (Baume and Crawford 1980, Garn et al. 1970, Harris and Nweeia 1980). The results of the present study suggest that (1) stress levels of both samples are comparable with those of other populations experiencing high levels of stress (Baume and Crawford 1979, 1980) and (2) there was no significant change in stress between the two population samples as reflected by dental asymmetry or reduction in morphological complexity.