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Brief communication: Two-rooted lower Canines—A European trait and sensitive indicator of admixture across Eurasia

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Abstract

With the exception of Carabelli's trait, the European dentition is better known for the morphological traits that it does not exhibit rather than the ones that it does. One root trait, however, runs counter to the characterization of reduced and simplified European crowns and roots. Although a rare trait in general, two-rooted lower canines are much more common in Europeans than in any other regional grouping and, given adequate sample sizes, can be useful in evaluating gene flow between Europeans and neighboring groups. In European samples, two-rooted lower canines consistently exhibit frequencies of 5–8%. In our sample from northern Spain, the trait attains a frequency of almost 10%. In contrast, in Sub-Saharan Africans the trait is virtually unknown while in Asian and Asian-derived populations, it varies between 0.0 and 1.0%. Here we show that two-rooted canine frequencies for new migrants along the western frontiers of China and Mongolia ranged from 0–4%. These data suggest European-derived populations migrated into western China (Xinjiang Province) and Mongolia (Bayan Olgii Aimag) sometime during the late Bronze age (1000–400 BCE). Am J Phys Anthropol, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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