Despite success of molecular genetics that developed efficient methods for educing mitochondrial DNA from fossil bones, anthropologists prefer primary sources as before and keep investigating skulls. Each skull possess multitude of distinctive and well-perceptible signs: these are supplementary and fontanel bones, sutural bones (epactal ossicle), accessory and inconstant orifices, appendices and protuberances.
As peculiarities of the skull structure are genetically determined, the set of signs allows to judge about the genotype of its owner, and the frequency at which some feature is found reflects genetic peculiarities of the population. In this case, the idea about genetic diversity of populations including the fossilized ones, and about their kinship may be compiled without resorting to molecular methods, thus making the process much easier and less expensive. But will this information be trustworthy?
In various anthropological museums, researchers collected and described 3,475 skulls of representatives of 62 nations of the world. The analysis was carried out based on 35 signs. The obtained level of inter-ethnic diversity is comparable with the already known level of genetic diversity, therefore, signs of skull bones structure represent a trustworthy source of information that is particularly precious in the cases when only bones remain from studied nations.
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