Document Type



The biological affinities among 17 South American aboriginal populations are examined by means of a multivariate analysis of their dermatoglyphic finger patterns. Different analytical methods [cluster analysis, nonmetric multidimensional scaling, and multiresponse permutation procedure (based on distances derived from principal components analysis)] reveal interpopulation relationships consistent with Loukotka’s language classification. The paleo-American tribes from the Gran Chaco and Brazil share a high incidence of whorls as a distinctive feature. The Andean and tropical forest groups, which present a greater prevalence of arches and ulnar loops, appear to be closely related to each other, suggesting a more recent common origin and/or substantial gene flow between them.