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Anthropology Working Papers Series: “Using Geometric Morphometrics to Explore the Impact of Admixture on Craniofacial Form” Dr. Joseph Hefner and Ms. Amber Plemons
January 24 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Please join us Friday, January 24 for an Anthropology Working Paper presentation by Dr. Joseph Hefner and Ms. Amber Plemons (Michigan State University) entitled “Using Geometric Morphometrics to Explore the Impact of Admixture on Craniofacial Form”.
Time: 3:00-4:00pm, Friday, January 24, 2020
Location: C103 McDonel Hall
The concept of admixture in the US reflects biocultural and historical events. Any continuing levels of admixture may reveal fine-scale genetic differences in ancestry, but these variations may not be expressed in skeletal tissues. In fact, the very concept of ‘admixture’ represented as morphological characters is typological and is ill-advised as a descriptor for analyses. However, the concept is often used by forensic anthropologists despite the lack of supporting data. We demonstrate the inadequacy of the term admixture to describe human skeletal variation using a unique, historically important sample.
We selected photographs from CB Day’s (1889-1948) thesis with demonstrable head rotation angles, free of objects (e.g., hair, shadows) obscuring facial landmarks. To standardize pooling, Day’s original admixture assessments were compressed: 1) 0-25%; 2) 26-50%; 3) 51-75%; and, 4) 76-100%. Coordinate data for twenty-four soft tissue landmarks were collected and analyzed, by group. Day’s dedication to data collection and her superb data management and reporting provide a dataset for a modern analysis of admixture using geometric morphometric methods for shape analysis.
Dr. Hefner is an assistant professor of anthropology at Michigan State University and the Director of the MSU Forensic Anthropology Laboratory. His research interests include the application of statistical methods to explore modern human variation, particularly the estimation of ancestry.
Ms. Plemons is a PhD student working with Dr. Hefner. She received her BS from Texas State University and her MA from Mississippi State University. Her research interests focus on human variation, ancestry estimation, dental anthropology, fragmentary remains, and data management. Her dissertation research is examining the role of genetics and climate on craniofacial form and how these factors influence human variation on a global scale.