Genetically determined morphological integration directs the evolution of skull shape in humans. The study is based on the analysis of 390 skulls, decorated according to local tradition, from the ossuary in Hallstatt, Austria which houses an exceptionally valuable collection for anthropological research.
The more than 700 items of skeletal remains are famous for their painted decoration, depicting flowers, leaves and crosses, with the name of the deceased printed on the forehead of most of the skulls. By cross-referencing with local registers of births, deaths and marriages, experts have been able to use the collection to reconstruct the genealogical relationships of the population from as far back as the 17th century and make informed estimates of the influence of genes on skull shape.
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First out of Africa, first into Asia and Australia…
The first major genome analysis of Australian Aboriginal people reveals that their ancestors took part in the first human migration out of Africa.
They were the first to arrive in Asia some 70,000 years ago, roaming the area at least 24,000 years before the ancestors of present-day Europeans and Asians appeared. They were also the first to live in Australia, according to DNA results of a 90-year-old hair sample of a young man that link Aborigines to the first inhabitants of the region about 50,000 years ago.