5. Multivariate Quantitative Methods in Paleoanthropology

  1. David R. Begun
  1. Michael A. Schillaci and
  2. Philipp Gunz

Published Online: 14 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch5

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

How to Cite

Schillaci, M. A. and Gunz, P. (2013) Multivariate Quantitative Methods in Paleoanthropology, in A Companion to Paleoanthropology (ed D. R. Begun), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch5

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444331165

Online ISBN: 9781118332344



  • canonical discriminant functions analysis;
  • geometric morphometrics (GM);
  • hierarchical cluster analysis;
  • multidimensional scaling (MDS);
  • multivariate statistical techniques


Multivariate statistical analyses are becoming increasingly common in paleoanthropology, facilitated by powerful personal computers and easily available statistical computer software. This chapter provides a general overview, with examples, of some of the multivariate statistical techniques used by paleoanthropologists. It presents essential information needed for forming a basic understanding and working knowledge of the multivariate methods most often used in the quantitative analysis of paleoanthropological data. The first part of the chapter examines five commonly used multivariate techniques used to analyze linear and angular measurements: (1) principal components analysis (PCA); (2) canonical discriminant functions analysis (also called canonical variates analysis (CVA)); (3) hierarchical cluster analysis; (4) principal coordinate analysis (PCO); and (5) multidimensional scaling (MDS). The second part of the chapter provides an overview of non-metric multivariate techniques used in the analysis of geometric morphometric data.