Comparison between morphological and genetic data to estimate biological relationship: The case of the Egyin Gol necropolis (Mongolia)

Authors

  • François-X. Ricaut,

    Corresponding author
    1. CNRS FRE 2960, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire et Imagerie de Synthèse AMIS, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, France
    • CNRS FRE 2960, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire et Imagerie de Synthèse AMIS, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, 37 Allées Jules Guesde, 31073 Toulouse Cedex 3, France
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    • François-X. Ricaut and Vincent Auriol contributed equally to this work.

  • Vincent Auriol,

    1. CNRS FRE 2960, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire et Imagerie de Synthèse AMIS, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, France
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    • François-X. Ricaut and Vincent Auriol contributed equally to this work.

  • Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel,

    1. School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NR, UK
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  • Christine Keyser,

    1. CNRS FRE 2960, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire et Imagerie de Synthèse AMIS, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, France
    2. Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire, Institut de Médecine Légale, Université de Strasbourg, 67085 Strasbourg Cedex, France
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  • Pascal Murail,

    1. Université Bordeaux 1, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie des Populations du Passé, UMR 5199 PACEA, 33400 Talence, France
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  • Bertrand Ludes,

    1. CNRS FRE 2960, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire et Imagerie de Synthèse AMIS, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, France
    2. Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire, Institut de Médecine Légale, Université de Strasbourg, 67085 Strasbourg Cedex, France
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  • Eric Crubézy

    1. CNRS FRE 2960, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire et Imagerie de Synthèse AMIS, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, France
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Abstract

Osseous and dental nonmetric (discrete) traits have long been used to assess population variability and affinity in anthropological and archaeological contexts. However, the full extent to which nonmetric traits can reliably be used as a proxy for genetic data when assessing close or familial relationships is currently poorly understood. This study represents the unique opportunity to directly compare genetic and nonmetric data for the same individuals excavated from the Egyin Gol necropolis, Mongolia. These data were analyzed to consider the general efficacy of nonmetric traits for detecting familial groupings in the absence of available genetic data. The results showed that the Egyin Gol population is quite homogenous both metrically and genetically confirming a previous suggestion that the same people occupied the necropolis throughout the five centuries of its existence. Kinship analysis detected the presence of potential family burials in the necropolis. Moreover, individuals buried in one sector of the necropolis were differentiated from other sectors on the basis of nonmetric data. This separation is likely due to an outside Turkish influence in the paternal line, as indicated by the results of Y-chromosome analysis. Affinity matrices based on nonmetric and genetic data were correlated demonstrating the potential of nonmetric traits for detecting relationships in the absence of genetic data. However, the strengths of the correlations were relatively low, cautioning against the use of nonmetric traits when the resolution of the familial relationships is low. Am J Phys Anthropol 143:355-364, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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