A geometric morphometric approach to cranial variation in 18th to 19th century skeletal populations form the St.Lawrence Region, Canada

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University of New Brunswick


This study examines the use of geometric morphometrics in assessing cranial morphology of 18th to 19th century populations from Montréal and Sainte-Marie; where three-dimensional coordinates of 18 landmarks were obtained. Additionally dental metrics were also used to complement the cranial analyses. This study attempted to determine whether high resolution measurements improve the ability to detect patterning and variation. Using principal component analysis (PCA), facilitated by Paleontological Statistics (PAST) software, this research determined that there were no significant differences between Montréal and Sainte-Marie cranial morphology. There were cranial length differences within the populations, likely caused by the diverse immigration and admixture of individuals in the St. Lawrence region, confirmed using comparative European populations. However, it was difficult to determine any definitive potential causative factors of the observed cranial similarities or differences due to small sample sizes. Dental analysis using SPSS was in agreement with cranial analyses, where overall there were minimal differences between the dentition of Montréal and Sainte-Marie individuals. KEYWORDS: geometric morphometrics; biological anthropology; skeletal remains; cranial variation; cranial morphology; cranial coordinates; Montréal; Sainte-Marie; St. Lawrence region.