Digital Dermatoglyphic Patterns of Eskimo and Amerindian Populations: Relationships between Geographic, Dermatoglyphic, Genetic, and Linguistic Distances

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Dermatoglyphic traits have been used to assess population affinities and structure. Here, we describe the digital patterns of four Eskimo populations from Alaska: two Yupik-speaking villages from St. Lawrence Island and two Inupik groups presently residing on mainland Alaska. For a broader evolutionary perspective, these four Eskimo populations are compared to other Inuit groups, to North American Indian populations, and to Siberian aggregates. The genetic structures of 18 New and Old World populations were explored using R -matrix plots and Wright’s FST values. The relationships between dermatoglyphic, blood genetic, geographic, and linguistic distances were assessed by comparing matrices through Mantel correlations and through partial and multiple correlations. Statistically significant relationships between dermatoglyphics and genetics, genetics and geography, and geography and language were revealed. In addition, significant correlations between dermatoglyphics and geography, with linguistic variation constant, were noted for females but not for males. These results attest to the usefulness of dermatoglyphics in resolving various evolutionary questions concerning normal human variation.

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