Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 836738, 25 pages
Research Article

Indian Craniometric Variability and Affinities

1School of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
2Department of Archaeology and Natural History, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
3Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh IN-CH 160001, India
4Department of Anatomy, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak IIM-R 124001, India

Received 11 July 2013; Revised 13 October 2013; Accepted 15 October 2013

Academic Editor: Shozo Yokoyama

Copyright © 2013 Pathmanathan Raghavan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Recently published craniometric and genetic studies indicate a predominantly indigenous ancestry of Indian populations. We address this issue with a fuller coverage of Indian craniometrics than any done before. We analyse metrical variability within Indian series, Indians’ sexual dimorphism, differences between northern and southern Indians, index-based differences of Indian males from other series, and Indians’ multivariate affinities. The relationship between a variable’s magnitude and its variability is log-linear. This relationship is strengthened by excluding cranial fractions and series with a sample size less than 30. Male crania are typically larger than female crania, but there are also shape differences. Northern Indians differ from southern Indians in various features including narrower orbits and less pronounced medial protrusion of the orbits. Indians resemble Veddas in having small crania and similar cranial shape. Indians’ wider geographic affinities lie with “Caucasoid” populations to the northwest, particularly affecting northern Indians. The latter finding is confirmed from shape-based Mahalanobis-D distances calculated for the best sampled male and female series. Demonstration of a distinctive South Asian craniometric profile and the intermediate status of northern Indians between southern Indians and populations northwest of India confirm the predominantly indigenous ancestry of northern and especially southern Indians.