Publications by authors named "Petr Veleminsky"

38 Publications

Frontal sinus anatomy of the noble Swéerts-Sporck family and verification of their biological relationships using similarity analysis.

Anat Rec (Hoboken) 2020 Nov 2. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague 2, Czech Republic.

The evaluation of frontal sinus similarity is one way to detect biological relationships, especially in small groups, including families of historically known personalities. However, possibilities for studying this issue are currently limited. This contribution deals with the frontal sinuses of a rare osteological sample with known genealogical data, members of the noble Swéerts-Sporck family from the 17th to 20th centuries. The aim is to verify whether the frontal sinuses reflect documented family relationships. Basic dimensions of the frontal sinus such as total surface area and volume, and maximum height and width, and also morphology and anatomical features were evaluated using computed tomography scans. The portions of the frontal sinus above the "external supraorbital line" were analyzed. The degree of similarity between biologically related individuals was determined for each variable and compared with their known biological distance. The degree of similarity based on dimensions was evaluated using both the unadjusted measured data and standardized data adjusted to size. For the unadjusted dimensions, a positive correlation between morphological similarity and biological relatedness was apparent. On the other hand, no positive correlation was apparent for most of the standardized data. Only total volume showed a very weak indication of a positive trend in the standardized data, but this was weaker than in the original values. A positive quantifiable relationship between morphological patterns and biological distance is not clearly indicated. However, nonmetric features do support the documented relationships of the individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ar.24564DOI Listing
November 2020

The dietary behavior of two early medieval individuals with temporomandibular ankylosis.

Int J Paleopathol 2020 12 14;31:1-6. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria; Department of Anthropology, Natural History Museum Vienna, Burgring 7, A 1010 Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study aimed to reconstruct the dietary behavior of two early medieval individuals who display gnathic malformation.

Material: Two skeletons affected by temporomandibular ankylosis were analyzed, one from the Great Moravian burial site of Rajhradice (9th century AD, Czech Republic), and the other from the Avar burial site of Schӧnkirchen (8th century AD, Austria).

Methods: Carbon and nitrogen isotopic values were measured from the bone collagen of both individuals. In the Rajhradice case, where the childhood origin of ankylosis is deduced, isotopic analysis of dentine sections was performed.

Results: Both individuals show isotopic values within the range of variation of a contemporaneous population sample. There was no observable dietary change in the Rajhradice individual that could be linked to the occurrence of ankylosis.

Conclusions: Both individuals consumed diets typical for their populations. They appear to not have restricted access to foodstuffs, namely animal protein, which would likely have had to be served in liquid (e.g. milk) or in a highly mashed form to compensate for insufficient mastication.

Significance: This finding provides specific evidence of care provided to these two afflicted members of past populations.

Limitations: Though the proportion of animal protein is an important indicator of the quality of diet, many other aspects of diet - such as micronutrient content - elude stable isotope analysis.

Suggestions For Further Research: Amino acid compound specific isotope analyses of collagen would provide deeper insight into both the diet and physiology of the affected individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2020.07.002DOI Listing
December 2020

Biological relationships and frontal sinus similarity in skeletal remains with known genealogical data.

J Anat 2020 Oct 2;237(4):798-809. Epub 2020 Jun 2.

Department of Anthropology, National Museum, Prague, Czech Republic.

Frontal sinus analysis has potential utility for detecting biologically related individuals. However, the methodological approach to its evaluation, as well as its informative value, have been questioned. The aim of this work is to introduce a new approach to evaluating the frontal sinus using the 'external supraorbital line' (ESOL) and to determine whether there are sex differences within families in frontal sinus measurements and whether frontal sinus similarity reflects known genetic relationships in both measurements and morphology. We examined the skeletal remains of 41 adult individuals (25 males, 16 females), all members of one family over four generations (19th to 20th centuries), including individuals with very close consanguinity. CT images of skulls were acquired, and both the dimensions and morphology of the frontal sinuses were analyzed using their portions above the ESOL. No significant sex differences were found within families based on frontal sinus dimensions. Significant relationships were found between biological distance and the maximum height and morphology of the frontal sinuses. The greatest degree of similarity was found among closely related individuals. Additionally, in several cases, there was a greater degree of similarity between first cousins or grandparents and their grandchildren than among siblings or parents and their children. Total surface, volume and width are not significant indicators of relatedness. Known genetic relationships are also supported by individual morphological features. Variability within families with very close consanguineous relationships was lower than within families with common degrees of consanguinity, although differences are significant only for some variables.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joa.13246DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7495269PMC
October 2020

Multiple occurrence of premature polyarticular osteoarthritis in an early medieval Bohemian cemetery (Prague, Czech Republic).

Int J Paleopathol 2020 09 14;30:35-46. Epub 2020 May 14.

CNRS, UMR 5199 PACEA, Université de Bordeaux, Bât. B8, Allée Geoffroy St Hilaire, CS 50023, 33615 Pessac Cedex, France; Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Objectives: To highlight conditions that may cause early-onset degenerative joint disease, and to assess the possible impact of such diseases upon everyday life.

Material: Four adults aged under 50 years from a medieval skeletal collection of Prague (Czechia).

Methods: Visual, osteometric, X-ray, and histological examinations, stable isotope analysis of bone collagen.

Results: All four individuals showed multiple symmetrical degenerative changes, affecting the majority of joints of the postcranial skeleton. Associated dysplastic deformities were observed in all individuals, including bilateral hip dysplasia (n = 1), flattening of the femoral condyles (n = 3), and substantial deformation of the elbows (n = 3). The diet of the affected individuals differed from the contemporary population sample.

Conclusions: We propose the diagnosis of a mild form of skeletal dysplasia in these four individuals, with multiple epiphyseal dysplasia or type-II collagenopathy linked to premature osteoarthritis as the most probable causes.

Significance: Combining the skeletal findings with information from the medical literature, this paper defines several characteristic traits which may assist with the diagnosis of skeletal dysplasia in the archaeological record.

Limitations: As no genetic analysis was performed to confirm the possible kinship of the individuals, it is not possible to definitively assess whether the individuals suffered from the same hereditary condition or from different forms of skeletal dysplasia.

Suggestions For Further Research: Further studies on premature osteoarthritis in archaeological skeletal series are needed to correct the underrepresentation of these mild forms of dysplasia in past populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2020.04.004DOI Listing
September 2020

The impact of using new and conventional methods for the age-at-death estimation in a Czech medieval population (Mikulčice, 9-10 century): the relationship between age-at-death and linear enamel hypoplasia.

Anthropol Anz 2020 Aug;77(3):259-268

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7 - 128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic.

Recent advances in age-at-death estimation from the skeleton indicate that some of the most commonly used methods based on linear regression provide different results compared to new techniques using Bayesian statistics, and underestimate individuals over 60 years old which leads to biased prehistoric lifespans. The question is how the choice of age-at-death estimation method can influence subsequent comparisons between different populations or further analysis, such as assessment of the effect of early stress on mortality in adult individuals. The aim of our work is twofold: firstly, to test the differences between age estimation methods evaluating one indicator (the auricular surface), namely the original (Lovejoy et al. 1985), revised (Buckberry & Chamberlain 2002) and newly developed (Schmitt 2005) methods, on the Early Medieval adult population from Mikulčice - III church (Czech Republic, Central Europe). The secondary objective is to assess whether the different age distributions based on the different methods have an impact on age-dependent analyses, in this case the relationship between LEH and age-at-death. Our results showed that in the adult population from Mikulčice - III church, the original and revised methods provided different mortality profiles: the proportion of individuals older than 60 years acquired using Lovejoy's method was only 6.7%, while the newer methods increased the proportion to 26.7% (Buckberry & Chamberlain 2002) and 23.9% (Schmitt 2005). The choice of age-at-death estimation, and thus the different age distributions, also resulted in differences in the achieved age of individuals with and without stress markers, and specifically in the significance of the differences found. This finding seeks to draw attention to the fact that inconsistency in the use of different age-estimation methods can influence the results of further analyses and cause problems when comparing burial grounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/anthranz/2020/1073DOI Listing
August 2020

The Neanderthal endocast from Gánovce (Poprad, Slovak Republic).

J Anthropol Sci 2019 Dec 7;96:139-149. Epub 2019 Oct 7.

Programa de Paleobiología, Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Burgos, Spain,

A Neanderthal endocast, naturally formed by travertine within the crater of a thermal spring, was found at Gánovce, near Poprad (Slovakia), in 1926, and dated to 105 ka. The endocast is partially covered by fragments of the braincase. The volume of the endocast was estimated to be 1320 cc. The endocast was first studied by the Czech paleoanthropologist Emanuel Vlček, who performed metric and morphological analyses which suggested its Neanderthal origin. Vlček published his works more than fifty years ago, but the fossil is scarcely known to the general paleoanthropological community, probably because of language barriers. Here, we review the historical and anatomical information available on the endocasts, providing additional paleoneurological assessments on its features. The endocast displays typical Neanderthal traits, and its overall appearance is similar to Guattari 1, mostly because of the pronounced frontal width and occipital bulging. The morphology of the Gánovce specimen suggests once more that the Neanderthal endocranial phenotype had already evolved at 100 ka.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4436/JASS.97005DOI Listing
December 2019

The formation of human populations in South and Central Asia.

Authors:
Vagheesh M Narasimhan Nick Patterson Priya Moorjani Nadin Rohland Rebecca Bernardos Swapan Mallick Iosif Lazaridis Nathan Nakatsuka Iñigo Olalde Mark Lipson Alexander M Kim Luca M Olivieri Alfredo Coppa Massimo Vidale James Mallory Vyacheslav Moiseyev Egor Kitov Janet Monge Nicole Adamski Neel Alex Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht Francesca Candilio Kimberly Callan Olivia Cheronet Brendan J Culleton Matthew Ferry Daniel Fernandes Suzanne Freilich Beatriz Gamarra Daniel Gaudio Mateja Hajdinjak Éadaoin Harney Thomas K Harper Denise Keating Ann Marie Lawson Matthew Mah Kirsten Mandl Megan Michel Mario Novak Jonas Oppenheimer Niraj Rai Kendra Sirak Viviane Slon Kristin Stewardson Fatma Zalzala Zhao Zhang Gaziz Akhatov Anatoly N Bagashev Alessandra Bagnera Bauryzhan Baitanayev Julio Bendezu-Sarmiento Arman A Bissembaev Gian Luca Bonora Temirlan T Chargynov Tatiana Chikisheva Petr K Dashkovskiy Anatoly Derevianko Miroslav Dobeš Katerina Douka Nadezhda Dubova Meiram N Duisengali Dmitry Enshin Andrey Epimakhov Alexey V Fribus Dorian Fuller Alexander Goryachev Andrey Gromov Sergey P Grushin Bryan Hanks Margaret Judd Erlan Kazizov Aleksander Khokhlov Aleksander P Krygin Elena Kupriyanova Pavel Kuznetsov Donata Luiselli Farhod Maksudov Aslan M Mamedov Talgat B Mamirov Christopher Meiklejohn Deborah C Merrett Roberto Micheli Oleg Mochalov Samariddin Mustafokulov Ayushi Nayak Davide Pettener Richard Potts Dmitry Razhev Marina Rykun Stefania Sarno Tatyana M Savenkova Kulyan Sikhymbaeva Sergey M Slepchenko Oroz A Soltobaev Nadezhda Stepanova Svetlana Svyatko Kubatbek Tabaldiev Maria Teschler-Nicola Alexey A Tishkin Vitaly V Tkachev Sergey Vasilyev Petr Velemínský Dmitriy Voyakin Antonina Yermolayeva Muhammad Zahir Valery S Zubkov Alisa Zubova Vasant S Shinde Carles Lalueza-Fox Matthias Meyer David Anthony Nicole Boivin Kumarasamy Thangaraj Douglas J Kennett Michael Frachetti Ron Pinhasi David Reich

Science 2019 09;365(6457)

Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

By sequencing 523 ancient humans, we show that the primary source of ancestry in modern South Asians is a prehistoric genetic gradient between people related to early hunter-gatherers of Iran and Southeast Asia. After the Indus Valley Civilization's decline, its people mixed with individuals in the southeast to form one of the two main ancestral populations of South Asia, whose direct descendants live in southern India. Simultaneously, they mixed with descendants of Steppe pastoralists who, starting around 4000 years ago, spread via Central Asia to form the other main ancestral population. The Steppe ancestry in South Asia has the same profile as that in Bronze Age Eastern Europe, tracking a movement of people that affected both regions and that likely spread the distinctive features shared between Indo-Iranian and Balto-Slavic languages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aat7487DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6822619PMC
September 2019

Early medieval diet in childhood and adulthood and its reflection in the dental health of a Central European population (Mikulčice, 9-10 centuries, Czech Republic).

Arch Oral Biol 2019 Nov 14;107:104526. Epub 2019 Aug 14.

Department of Anthropology, National Museum, Václavské náměstí 68, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic. Electronic address:

Objectives: The aim of this study is to provide a detailed view of dental health in relationship to the diet of the Great Moravian population, with emphasis on childhood diet.

Design: We studied skeletal samples of the early medieval population of the Mikulčice agglomeration (Czech Republic) originating from the cemetery of the church VI (91 adults). Stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen (intra-individual sampling - tooth and bone) was performed on this material, and dental characteristics (carious lesions, intensity of caries (I-CE), dental wear, linear enamel hypoplasia) evaluated.

Results: Isotopic signals obtained from tooth and bone samples of the same individuals differ significantly. Tooth samples show higher δC and lower δN than bone samples. δN in tooth and bone samples is related to socio-economic status. We discovered a relationship between isotopic signals from tooth or bone and intensity of caries and dental wear.

Conclusion: We provide the first direct information about the diet of the juvenile part of the Great Moravian population from Mikulčice. The diet of children differed from the diet of adults. Children consumed more millet and less animal protein than adults. The social stratification of this population was obvious in dietary composition from childhood. Elites consumed more animal proteins than non-elite individuals. Tooth decay was related to relative consumption of plant and animal proteins. Greater dental wear is related to a diet based on C3 plants. There was no significant connection between diet composition and the formation of enamel hypoplasia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.archoralbio.2019.104526DOI Listing
November 2019

Normal craniovascular variation in two modern European adult populations.

J Anat 2019 10 24;235(4):765-782. Epub 2019 Jun 24.

Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Burgos, Spain.

The vascular networks running into the meningeal layers, between the brain and braincase, leave imprints on the endocranial surface. These traces are visible in osteological specimens and skeletal collections, providing indirect evidence of vascular patterns in those cases in which bone remains are the only source of anatomical information, such as in forensic science, bioarchaeology and paleontology. The main vascular elements are associated with the middle meningeal artery, the venous sinuses of the dura mater, and the emissary veins. Most of these vascular systems have been hypothesized to be involved in endocranial thermal regulation. Although these traits deal with macroanatomical features, much information on their variation is still lacking. In this survey, we analyze a set of craniovascular imprints in two European dry skull samples with different neurocranial proportions: a brachycephalic Czech sample (n = 103) and a mesocephalic Italian sample (n = 152). We analyzed variation and distribution, correlation with cranial metrics, and sex differences in the dominance of the branches of the middle meningeal artery, the patterns of confluence of the sinuses, and the size of the emissary foramina. The descriptive statistics provide a reference to compare specimens and samples from different case studies. When compared with the Italian skulls, the Czech skulls display a greater dominance of the anterior branch of the middle meningeal artery and more asymmetric right-dominance of the confluence of the venous sinuses. There is no sex difference in the middle meningeal vessels, but males show a greater prevalence of the occipito-marginal draining system. Differences in the middle meningeal vessels or venous sinuses are apparently not influenced by cranial dimensions or proportions. The mastoid foramina are larger in larger and more brachycephalic skulls, which increases the emissary potential flow in the Czech sample and males, when compared with the Italian samples and females, respectively. The number of mastoid foramina increases in wider skulls. This anatomic information is necessary to develop further morphological and functional inferences on the relationships between neurocranial bones and vessels at the genetic, ontogenetic, and phylogenetic levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joa.13019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6742892PMC
October 2019

An isotopic case study of individuals with syphilis from the pathological-anatomical reference collection of the national museum in Prague (Czech Republic, 19th century A.D.).

Int J Paleopathol 2019 06 30;25:46-55. Epub 2019 Apr 30.

Department of Anthropology, National Museum, Václavské námĕstí 68, 11579, Praha 1, Czech Republic.

Objective: This paper aims at investigating the possible existence of isotopic offsets in δC and δN values in relation to tertiary syphilis.

Material: Based on materials from the 19th c. A.D. deriving from the pathological-anatomical reference collection (the Jedlička collection) of the National Museum in Prague (Czech Republic), a comparative approach of ten individuals with syphilis and nine without the disease was undertaken.

Methods: Bone powder samples were defatted according to the protocol of Liden et al. (1995). Bone collagen was extracted following the protocol of Bocherens et al. (1991).

Results: Our results show that individuals with syphilis have lower δC values than individuals without the disease; the observed difference between the two groups is about 0.3-0.4‰, which is relatively small but still meaningful. However, no difference between δN values of the two groups has been noticed.

Conclusions: Either diets prescribed by physicians to syphilitic patients or nutritional stress caused by cyclic appetite disturbance due to the disease itself or the administered medical treatment appeared to be possible explanations of the observed isotopic pattern. Overall, the response of the two isotopic proxies could argue for relatively limited nutritional restrictions.

Significance: This is the first study examining bone collagen isotopic response to syphilis based on clinically documented human skeletal materials.

Limitations: The sample sizes are relatively small and cautiousness must be taken regarding the interpretations of the data.

Suggestions For Further Research: Compound-specific stable isotope investigations and analysis of mercury content could be helpful to better understand the observed isotopic effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2019.04.001DOI Listing
June 2019

Three-dimensional geometry of human tibial anterior curvature in chronologically distinct population samples of Central Europeans (2900 BC - 21 century AD).

Sci Rep 2019 03 12;9(1):4234. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

Several lines of bioarchaeological research have confirmed the gradual decline in lower limb loading among past human populations, beginning with the transition to agriculture. The goal of this study was to assess whether human tibial curvature reflects this decline, with a special emphasis on the time-span during which the pace of technological change has been the most rapid. Our study is the first (1) to apply longitudinal curvature analysis in the antero-posterior (A-P) and medio-lateral (M-L) planes to the human tibia, and (2) that incorporates a broad temporal population sample including the periods of intensification of agriculture, urbanization and industrialization (from 2900 BC to the 21 century AD; N = 435) within Czech territories. Using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics, we investigated whether anterior tibial curvature mirrors assumed diminishing lower limb loading between prehistoric and industrialized societies and explored its shape in all three dimensions. Results showed the continuous trend of A-P straightening of the shaft. This straightening was associated with a relative sigmoidal curve accentuation in the M-L plane. Given the timescale involved and the known phenomenon of declining mobility, such adaptive changes in bone geometry can be interpreted in terms of the diminishing biomechanical demands on the tibia under different living conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40625-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6414627PMC
March 2019

A time of change: dietary reconstruction of the Merovingian cemetery of Norroy-le-Veneur, France.

Anthropol Anz 2018 Dec;75(4):325-338

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, 128 43, Praha 2, Czech Republic.

The aim of this work was to analyse the diet of a Merovingian population sample of 80 individuals buried at Norroy-le-Veneur, France, with regard to their social status and chronology. A carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of human adult bone collagen and related fauna from the same cemetery showed a diet based primarily on C plants, supplemented with animal protein in a range comparable to other contemporary sites. No significant contribution of C plants (e.g. millet) or marine-derived protein was detected. In terms of socio-economic stratification, individuals buried with rich grave good assemblages formed a narrow group with a significantly higher mean of δC than low-ranking individuals. We argue that this may represent a step in the gradual formation of the dietary exclusivity of Frankish elites, following a progressive rise in power of the Merovingian nobility. Also, during the timespan of the cemetery there was a population-wide decrease of 0.3 ‰ in the mean value of δC. The role of the Christian conversion of the population is questioned, but another factor influencing diet might have played a role.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/anthranz/2018/0834DOI Listing
December 2018

Facial approximation of Tycho Brahe's partial skull based on estimated data with TIVMI-AFA3D.

Forensic Sci Int 2018 Nov 9;292:131-137. Epub 2018 Aug 9.

Department of Culture and Society-Section for Medieval and Renaissance Archaeology, Aarhus University, Moesgaard Alle 20, DK 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark.

The virtual approach in physical and forensic anthropology is increasingly used to further analyze human remains, but also to propose new didactic means for visualization and dissemination of scientific results. Computerized facial approximation (FA) offers an alternative to manual methods, but usually requires a complete facial skeleton to allow for the estimation of the facial appearance of an individual. This paper presents the case of Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer born during the XVIth century, whose remains were reanalyzed at the occasion of a short exhumation in 2010. Cranial remains of Brahe were poorly preserved, with only a partial facial skeleton, and virtual anthropology tools were used to estimate the missing parts of his skull. This 3D restoration was followed by a FA using TIVMI-AFA3D, subsequently textured with graphic tools. The result provided an interesting estimate that was compared with portraits of the astronomer. The impact of the missing data estimation was investigated by performing FAs on 10 complete test subjects and the same 10 subjects after cropping and estimating 50% of the landmarks (reproducing the preservation state of Tycho Brahe's cranial remains). The comparison between the FA based on the complete and incomplete skulls of the same subject produced a visual assessment of the estimation impact on FAs which is relatively low. This procedure is an alternative to manual methods and offers a reproducible estimate of a face based on incomplete cranial remains. Although the case report concerns a historical individual, the robust automatic estimation of missing landmarks followed by a FA has value for forensic caseworks as a support to the identification process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.08.002DOI Listing
November 2018

Virtual reconstruction of the Upper Palaeolithic skull from Zlatý Kůň, Czech Republic: Sex assessment and morphological affinity.

PLoS One 2018 30;13(8):e0201431. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

The incomplete cranium discovered at the Zlatý kůň site in the Bohemian Karst is a rare piece of skeletal evidence of human presence in Central Europe during the Late Glacial period. The relative position of cranial fragments was restored and missing parts of the cranium were virtually reconstructed using mirroring and the Thin-plate splines algorithm. The reconstruction allowed us to collect principal cranial measurements, revise a previous unfounded sex assignment and explore the specimen's morphological affinity. Visual assessment could not reliably provide a sexual diagnosis, as such methods have been developed on modern populations. Using a population-specific approach developed on cranial measurements collected from the literature on reliably sexed European Upper Palaeolithic specimens, linear discriminant analysis confirmed previous assignment to the female sex. However, caution is necessary with regard to the fact that it was assessed from the skull. The Zlatý kůň specimen clearly falls within the range of Upper Palaeolithic craniometric variation. Despite the shift in cranial variation that accompanied the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the Zlatý kůň skull exhibits a morphological affinity with the pre-LGM population. Several interpretations are proposed with regard to the complex population processes that occurred after the LGM in Europe.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0201431PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6116938PMC
January 2019

Kinship and morphological similarity in the skeletal remains of individuals with known genealogical data (Bohemia, 19th to 20th centuries): A new methodological approach.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2018 11 20;167(3):541-556. Epub 2018 Aug 20.

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Czech Republic.

Objectives: This article proposes a new approach, called the "similarity coefficient" (SC) for verifying family relationships from skeletal remains using nonmetric traits. Based on this method and further analyses, the authors aim to show the degree of similarity between individuals with varying degrees of kinship, including inbred individuals.

Materials And Methods: Our sample includes the skeletal remains of 34 individuals with known genealogical data (four generations, 19th to 20th centuries). A total of 243 skeletal nonmetric traits were evaluated with respect to their anatomical characteristics. The SC was calculated by quantifying the agreement of trait occurrence between individuals. We also identified the traits that support the biological relationships of particular individuals by accounting for their population frequencies.

Results: There was a positive correlation between the morphological similarity of biologically related individuals and their biological distance. In some cases, we found greater degree of morphological similarity between first cousins than among other close relatives such as parents and children. At the same time, there was no statistically significant difference in the degree of similarity between inbred individuals and common relatives. Proven family relationships were best reflected by cranial traits, especially bone bridges associated with the courses of blood vessels and nerves.

Conclusions: The use of skeletal nonmetric traits for the detection of relatives is possible. There is a relationship between biological distance and the degree of morphological similarity in related individuals. It also appears that inbreeding, despite previous assumptions, does not lead to a significant reduction in morphological variation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23683DOI Listing
November 2018

Ancient genomes reveal a high diversity of Mycobacterium leprae in medieval Europe.

PLoS Pathog 2018 05 10;14(5):e1006997. Epub 2018 May 10.

Institute for Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Studying ancient DNA allows us to retrace the evolutionary history of human pathogens, such as Mycobacterium leprae, the main causative agent of leprosy. Leprosy is one of the oldest recorded and most stigmatizing diseases in human history. The disease was prevalent in Europe until the 16th century and is still endemic in many countries with over 200,000 new cases reported annually. Previous worldwide studies on modern and European medieval M. leprae genomes revealed that they cluster into several distinct branches of which two were present in medieval Northwestern Europe. In this study, we analyzed 10 new medieval M. leprae genomes including the so far oldest M. leprae genome from one of the earliest known cases of leprosy in the United Kingdom-a skeleton from the Great Chesterford cemetery with a calibrated age of 415-545 C.E. This dataset provides a genetic time transect of M. leprae diversity in Europe over the past 1500 years. We find M. leprae strains from four distinct branches to be present in the Early Medieval Period, and strains from three different branches were detected within a single cemetery from the High Medieval Period. Altogether these findings suggest a higher genetic diversity of M. leprae strains in medieval Europe at various time points than previously assumed. The resulting more complex picture of the past phylogeography of leprosy in Europe impacts current phylogeographical models of M. leprae dissemination. It suggests alternative models for the past spread of leprosy such as a wide spread prevalence of strains from different branches in Eurasia already in Antiquity or maybe even an origin in Western Eurasia. Furthermore, these results highlight how studying ancient M. leprae strains improves understanding the history of leprosy worldwide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006997DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5944922PMC
May 2018

Rich table but short life: Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) and its possible consequences.

PLoS One 2018 19;13(4):e0195920. Epub 2018 Apr 19.

PACEA-UMR 5199, University of Bordeaux, Pessac, France.

The exhumation of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was performed in 2010 to verify speculative views on the cause of his death. Previous analyses of skeletal and hair remains recovered from his grave refuted the presumption that he died from poisoning. These studies also outlined the possibility that he actually died from an acute illness, echoing the rather vague and inaccurate testimony of some historical records. We performed a detailed paleopathological analysis of Tycho Brahe's skeletal remains, along with a reconstruction of his diet based on carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes analysis and an estimate of his physical status (relative body fat) based on medullar and cortical dimensions of the femoral shaft. The astronomer's remains exhibit bone changes indicative of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH). The study further allows us to classify him as obese (100% reliability according to our decision tree designed from Danish males), and points out his rich diet (high input of animal protein and/or marine resources) and high social status. Comorbidities of DISH and obesity are reviewed, and their influence on health status is discussed. We further consider some conditions associated with metabolic syndrome as possible causes of Tycho Brahe's final symptoms (urinary retention, renal failure and coma), including diabetes, alcoholic ketoacidosis and benign prostatic hypertrophy. Although a definite and specific diagnosis cannot be established, our study points to today's civilization diseases often associated with DISH and metabolic syndrome as the possible cause of death of Tycho Brahe.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0195920PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5909615PMC
July 2018

Erratum: The Beaker phenomenon and the genomic transformation of northwest Europe.

Authors:
Iñigo Olalde Selina Brace Morten E Allentoft Ian Armit Kristian Kristiansen Thomas Booth Nadin Rohland Swapan Mallick Anna Szécsényi-Nagy Alissa Mittnik Eveline Altena Mark Lipson Iosif Lazaridis Thomas K Harper Nick Patterson Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht Yoan Diekmann Zuzana Faltyskova Daniel Fernandes Matthew Ferry Eadaoin Harney Peter de Knijff Megan Michel Jonas Oppenheimer Kristin Stewardson Alistair Barclay Kurt Werner Alt Corina Liesau Patricia Ríos Concepción Blasco Jorge Vega Miguel Roberto Menduiña García Azucena Avilés Fernández Eszter Bánffy Maria Bernabò-Brea David Billoin Clive Bonsall Laura Bonsall Tim Allen Lindsey Büster Sophie Carver Laura Castells Navarro Oliver E Craig Gordon T Cook Barry Cunliffe Anthony Denaire Kirsten Egging Dinwiddy Natasha Dodwell Michal Ernée Christopher Evans Milan Kuchařík Joan Francès Farré Chris Fowler Michiel Gazenbeek Rafael Garrido Pena María Haber-Uriarte Elżbieta Haduch Gill Hey Nick Jowett Timothy Knowles Ken Massy Saskia Pfrengle Philippe Lefranc Olivier Lemercier Arnaud Lefebvre César Heras Martínez Virginia Galera Olmo Ana Bastida Ramírez Joaquín Lomba Maurandi Tona Majó Jacqueline I McKinley Kathleen McSweeney Balázs Gusztáv Mende Alessandra Modi Gabriella Kulcsár Viktória Kiss András Czene Róbert Patay Anna Endrődi Kitti Köhler Tamás Hajdu Tamás Szeniczey János Dani Zsolt Bernert Maya Hoole Olivia Cheronet Denise Keating Petr Velemínský Miroslav Dobeš Francesca Candilio Fraser Brown Raúl Flores Fernández Ana-Mercedes Herrero-Corral Sebastiano Tusa Emiliano Carnieri Luigi Lentini Antonella Valenti Alessandro Zanini Clive Waddington Germán Delibes Elisa Guerra-Doce Benjamin Neil Marcus Brittain Mike Luke Richard Mortimer Jocelyne Desideri Marie Besse Günter Brücken Mirosław Furmanek Agata Hałuszko Maksym Mackiewicz Artur Rapiński Stephany Leach Ignacio Soriano Katina T Lillios João Luís Cardoso Michael Parker Pearson Piotr Włodarczak T Douglas Price Pilar Prieto Pierre-Jérôme Rey Roberto Risch Manuel A Rojo Guerra Aurore Schmitt Joël Serralongue Ana Maria Silva Václav Smrčka Luc Vergnaud João Zilhão David Caramelli Thomas Higham Mark G Thomas Douglas J Kennett Harry Fokkens Volker Heyd Alison Sheridan Karl-Göran Sjögren Philipp W Stockhammer Johannes Krause Ron Pinhasi Wolfgang Haak Ian Barnes Carles Lalueza-Fox David Reich

Nature 2018 03;555(7697):543

This corrects the article DOI: 10.1038/nature25738.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature26164DOI Listing
March 2018

The Beaker phenomenon and the genomic transformation of northwest Europe.

Authors:
Iñigo Olalde Selina Brace Morten E Allentoft Ian Armit Kristian Kristiansen Thomas Booth Nadin Rohland Swapan Mallick Anna Szécsényi-Nagy Alissa Mittnik Eveline Altena Mark Lipson Iosif Lazaridis Thomas K Harper Nick Patterson Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht Yoan Diekmann Zuzana Faltyskova Daniel Fernandes Matthew Ferry Eadaoin Harney Peter de Knijff Megan Michel Jonas Oppenheimer Kristin Stewardson Alistair Barclay Kurt Werner Alt Corina Liesau Patricia Ríos Concepción Blasco Jorge Vega Miguel Roberto Menduiña García Azucena Avilés Fernández Eszter Bánffy Maria Bernabò-Brea David Billoin Clive Bonsall Laura Bonsall Tim Allen Lindsey Büster Sophie Carver Laura Castells Navarro Oliver E Craig Gordon T Cook Barry Cunliffe Anthony Denaire Kirsten Egging Dinwiddy Natasha Dodwell Michal Ernée Christopher Evans Milan Kuchařík Joan Francès Farré Chris Fowler Michiel Gazenbeek Rafael Garrido Pena María Haber-Uriarte Elżbieta Haduch Gill Hey Nick Jowett Timothy Knowles Ken Massy Saskia Pfrengle Philippe Lefranc Olivier Lemercier Arnaud Lefebvre César Heras Martínez Virginia Galera Olmo Ana Bastida Ramírez Joaquín Lomba Maurandi Tona Majó Jacqueline I McKinley Kathleen McSweeney Balázs Gusztáv Mende Alessandra Modi Gabriella Kulcsár Viktória Kiss András Czene Róbert Patay Anna Endrődi Kitti Köhler Tamás Hajdu Tamás Szeniczey János Dani Zsolt Bernert Maya Hoole Olivia Cheronet Denise Keating Petr Velemínský Miroslav Dobeš Francesca Candilio Fraser Brown Raúl Flores Fernández Ana-Mercedes Herrero-Corral Sebastiano Tusa Emiliano Carnieri Luigi Lentini Antonella Valenti Alessandro Zanini Clive Waddington Germán Delibes Elisa Guerra-Doce Benjamin Neil Marcus Brittain Mike Luke Richard Mortimer Jocelyne Desideri Marie Besse Günter Brücken Mirosław Furmanek Agata Hałuszko Maksym Mackiewicz Artur Rapiński Stephany Leach Ignacio Soriano Katina T Lillios João Luís Cardoso Michael Parker Pearson Piotr Włodarczak T Douglas Price Pilar Prieto Pierre-Jérôme Rey Roberto Risch Manuel A Rojo Guerra Aurore Schmitt Joël Serralongue Ana Maria Silva Václav Smrčka Luc Vergnaud João Zilhão David Caramelli Thomas Higham Mark G Thomas Douglas J Kennett Harry Fokkens Volker Heyd Alison Sheridan Karl-Göran Sjögren Philipp W Stockhammer Johannes Krause Ron Pinhasi Wolfgang Haak Ian Barnes Carles Lalueza-Fox David Reich

Nature 2018 03 21;555(7695):190-196. Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

From around 2750 to 2500 bc, Bell Beaker pottery became widespread across western and central Europe, before it disappeared between 2200 and 1800 bc. The forces that propelled its expansion are a matter of long-standing debate, and there is support for both cultural diffusion and migration having a role in this process. Here we present genome-wide data from 400 Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age Europeans, including 226 individuals associated with Beaker-complex artefacts. We detected limited genetic affinity between Beaker-complex-associated individuals from Iberia and central Europe, and thus exclude migration as an important mechanism of spread between these two regions. However, migration had a key role in the further dissemination of the Beaker complex. We document this phenomenon most clearly in Britain, where the spread of the Beaker complex introduced high levels of steppe-related ancestry and was associated with the replacement of approximately 90% of Britain's gene pool within a few hundred years, continuing the east-to-west expansion that had brought steppe-related ancestry into central and northern Europe over the previous centuries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature25738DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5973796PMC
March 2018

Facial skeleton asymmetry and its relationship to mastication in the Early Medieval period (Great Moravian Empire, Mikulčice, 9th-10th century).

Arch Oral Biol 2017 Dec 19;84:64-73. Epub 2017 Sep 19.

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University, 128 43, Prague, Czech Republic.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to analyse the relationship of mastication and directional asymmetry (DA) of upper facial skeleton in Early Medieval sample from the Mikulčice settlement (Czech Republic).

Design: The settlement is divided into two burial areas of presumably different socioeconomic status: the castle and the sub-castle. The material consisted of 193 individuals (125 castle, 68 sub-castle). The relationship of facial skeleton DA and mastication was analysed by examining tooth wear and mandibular shape by means of 3D geometric morphometrics. Tooth wear of premolars and molars was evaluated using appropriate scoring systems. 3D coordinates of 35 mandibular landmarks were scanned using MicroScribe G2X digitizing system.

Results: The results did not reveal any significant differences in tooth wear DA or mandible DA values between burial areas or sexes. Mandibular shape, however, differed significantly between burial areas and sexes. Directional changes of mandibular landmarks supported a right chewing side preference in the sample. Significant relationship between upper facial skeleton DA and mandible DA was recorded.

Conclusions: Differences in subsistence between burial areas and sexes did not translate into differences in mandible DA and dental wear. However, mandibular shape analysis revealed prominence of areas affected by masticatory muscles in individuals from the castle. Higher consumption of tough material, such as meat, has been proposed as possible explanation. The right side was found to be preferential for chewing. The relationship between upper facial skeleton DA and mandible DA was concluded to be the result of the compensatory and adaptive function of mandible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.archoralbio.2017.09.015DOI Listing
December 2017

Characterization of Two Historic Smallpox Specimens from a Czech Museum.

Viruses 2017 07 27;9(8). Epub 2017 Jul 27.

Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Neuherbergstr. 11, 80937 Munich, Germany.

Although smallpox has been known for centuries, the oldest available variola virus strains were isolated in the early 1940s. At that time, large regions of the world were already smallpox-free. Therefore, genetic information of these strains can represent only the very last fraction of a long evolutionary process. Based on the genomes of 48 strains, two clades are differentiated: Clade 1 includes variants of variola major, and clade 2 includes West African and variola minor (Alastrim) strains. Recently, the genome of an almost 400-year-old Lithuanian mummy was determined, which fell basal to all currently sequenced strains of variola virus on phylogenetic trees. Here, we determined two complete variola virus genomes from human tissues kept in a museum in Prague dating back 60 and 160 years, respectively. Moreover, mass spectrometry-based proteomic, chemical, and microscopic examinations were performed. The 60-year-old specimen was most likely an importation from India, a country with endemic smallpox at that time. The genome of the 160-year-old specimen is related to clade 2 West African and variola minor strains. This sequence likely represents a new endemic European variant of variola virus circulating in the midst of the 19th century in Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v9080200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5580457PMC
July 2017

Stability of upper face sexual dimorphism in central European populations (Czech Republic) during the modern age.

Int J Legal Med 2018 Jan 21;132(1):321-330. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

National Museum Prague, Václavské náměstí 68, 115 79, Prague 1, Czech Republic.

One of the most fundamental issues in forensic anthropology is the determination of sex and population affinity based on various skeletal elements. Therefore, we compared the sexual dimorphism of the upper facial skeleton from a recent Czech population (twenty-first century) with that of a population from Early Modern Age Bohemia (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries). Methods of geometric morphometrics were applied. According to the results, sexual dimorphism in terms of size, shape, and form was statistically significant in both populations. The best results of sex estimation originated from analyses of form. Thus, both size and shape differences should be taken into account for determination of the sex. The accuracy of prediction achieved 91.1% for individuals in the recent population and 87.5% for individuals from the early modern population. Only minor differences were found between sexual dimorphism in the studied populations. We conclude that sexual dimorphism of the upper facial skeleton is stable during the relatively short time period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00414-017-1625-3DOI Listing
January 2018

Craniovascular traits in anthropology and evolution: from bones to vessels.

J Anthropol Sci 2017 Dec 10;95:35-65. Epub 2016 Feb 10.

Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Burgos, Spain.

Many aspects of human biology can be reconstructed from skeletal and fossil remains. The endocranial vasculature runs through cerebral, connective, and bone elements, where it is influenced by the functional and structural relationships among these different components of the endocranial system. The imprints and traces of these vessels can be used to analyze the craniovascular features of extinct species or historical samples. These traits can supply information about evolutionary adaptation, the mutual relationships between and within populations, and individual life history. In particular, bioarchaeology considers individual morphological variants as indicators of temporal and spatial relatedness and population structure, whereas paleoanthropology studies functional aspects to consider evolutionary changes and phylogenetic processes. Forensic science can investigate the cause of death associated with craniovascular pathologies by relying on morphological variations for individual identification. In this review, we consider the imprints of middle meningeal vessels, dural venous sinuses, emissary veins, and diploic veins. We summarize the most relevant morphological and functional information about craniovascular features and their applications in retrospective anthropological and medical fields, as well as describing the methodological issues associated with the sampling and quantitative evaluation of these elusive vascular remnants imprinted in the cranial bones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4436/JASS.95003DOI Listing
December 2017

A migration-driven model for the historical spread of leprosy in medieval Eastern and Central Europe.

Infect Genet Evol 2015 Apr 11;31:250-6. Epub 2015 Feb 11.

Centre for Clinical Microbiology, Division of Infection and Immunity, University College London, UK; Department of Anatomy and Anthropology Sackler Medical School, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Leprosy was rare in Europe during the Roman period, yet its prevalence increased dramatically in medieval times. We examined human remains, with paleopathological lesions indicative of leprosy, dated to the 6th-11th century AD, from Central and Eastern Europe and Byzantine Anatolia. Analysis of ancient DNA and bacterial cell wall lipid biomarkers revealed Mycobacterium leprae in skeletal remains from 6th-8th century Northern Italy, 7th-11th century Hungary, 8th-9th century Austria, the Slavic Greater Moravian Empire of the 9th-10th century and 8th-10th century Byzantine samples from Northern Anatolia. These data were analyzed alongside findings published by others. M. leprae is an obligate human pathogen that has undergone an evolutionary bottleneck followed by clonal expansion. Therefore M. leprae genotypes and sub-genotypes give information about the human populations they have infected and their migration. Although data are limited, genotyping demonstrates that historical M. leprae from Byzantine Anatolia, Eastern and Central Europe resembles modern strains in Asia Minor rather than the recently characterized historical strains from North West Europe. The westward migration of peoples from Central Asia in the first millennium may have introduced different M. leprae strains into medieval Europe and certainly would have facilitated the spread of any existing leprosy. The subsequent decline of M. leprae in Europe may be due to increased host resistance. However, molecular evidence of historical leprosy and tuberculosis co-infections suggests that death from tuberculosis in leprosy patients was also a factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2015.02.001DOI Listing
April 2015

Urban and rural infant-feeding practices and health in early medieval Central Europe (9th-10th Century, Czech Republic).

Am J Phys Anthropol 2014 Dec 25;155(4):635-51. Epub 2014 Sep 25.

Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Ministère de la culture et de la communication, LAMPEA UMR 7269, 13094, Aix-en-Provence, France; Department of Anthropology, National Museum, Václavské náměstí 68, 11579, Praha 1, Czech Republic; Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Viničná 7, 12844, Praha 2, Czech Republic.

In the Central European context, the 9th and 10th centuries are well known for rapid cultural and societal changes concerning the development of the economic and political structures of states as well as the adoption of Christianity. A bioarchaeological study based on a subadult skeletal series was conducted to tackle the impact of these changes on infant and young child feeding practices and, consequently, their health in both urban and rural populations. Data on growth and frequency of nonspecific stress indicators of a subadult group aged 0-6 years were analyzed. A subsample of 41 individuals was selected for nitrogen and carbon isotope analyses, applying an intra-individual sampling strategy (bone vs. tooth). The isotopic results attest to a mosaic of food behaviors. In the urban sample, some children may have been weaned during their second year of life, while some others may have still been consuming breast milk substantially up to 4-5 years of age. By contrast, data from the rural sample show more homogeneity, with a gradual cessation of breastfeeding starting after the age of 2 years. Several factors are suggested which may have been responsible for applied weaning strategies. There is no evidence that observed weaning strategies affected the level of biological stress which the urban subadult population had to face compared with the rural subadult population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22620DOI Listing
December 2014

The prevalence and distribution of dental caries in four early medieval non-adult populations of different socioeconomic status from Central Europe.

Arch Oral Biol 2015 Jan 23;60(1):62-76. Epub 2014 Aug 23.

Institute of Archaeology of Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Královopolská 147, 612 00 Brno, Czech Republic.

Objectives: The aim of the study was to map the dental health status in non-adult individuals and to verify whether and how the existence of caries in the non-adult age group is associated with the different socio-economic status of early medieval populations.

Material And Methods: We studied the dental remains from the acropolis of the Mikulčice settlement agglomeration, where members of the higher social classes were buried, and from the Mikulčice hinterland. Overall, we evaluated 2544 teeth/3714 alveoli of deciduous dentition and 1938 teeth/2128 alveoli of permanent dentition. We determined the number of individuals with dental caries (i.e., caries frequency index, F-CE) and the proportion of teeth/alveoli with caries/ante-mortem tooth loss (i.e., caries intensity index, I-CE).

Results: We found no statistical significant difference in the F-CE values between the Mikulčice hinterland and the acropolis. In addition, we found no statistically significant difference in the proportion of teeth with carious lesions (I-CE) either in the case of deciduous dentition or in the case of permanent dentition between the hinterland and the acropolis. In the case of permanent dentition, the statistically significant highest proportion of carious lesions (I-CE) was found in Mikulčice I (p ≤ 0.05). We confirmed an increase in the rate of caries with age.

Conclusions: The level of caries at all of the studied medieval locations was very low. We presume that lifestyle and the associated dietary habits and hygienic practices of the individuals or population groups had a greater influence on dental caries than did the socio-economic status of these individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.archoralbio.2014.08.002DOI Listing
January 2015

The shape variability of human tibial epiphyses in an early medieval Great Moravian population (9th-10th century AD): a geometric morphometric assessment.

Anthropol Anz 2014 ;71(3):219-36

Limb bone morphology is influenced by external factors, including changes in subsistence and socioeconomic shifts. The aim of this study was to identify and describe any trends in morphological variation in human tibial epiphyses within an early medieval population of central Europe using surface scanning and geometric morphometric methods. The results are discussed in terms of three potential sources of variation in shape variability: sexual dimorphism, age at death and social status. These parameters were tested on a Great Moravian population sample (35 men and 30 women) from a Mikulcice settlement (9th-10th century AD). Proximal (13 landmarks) and distal (8 landmarks) tibial epiphyses were evaluated independently. The most significant differences in morphology of both articular ends were found between the groups separated by sex. Proximal tibial variability in the studied sample was characterized by a strong relationship between tibial size and shape of sexual dimorphic traits. Significant shape differences were also identified between adultus (20 - 40 years) and maturus (40 - 60) age groups regarding the proximal epiphysis but neither of the epiphyses was affected by the presumed social status as derived from location within the context of the settlement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/0003-5548/2014/0336DOI Listing
September 2014

Technical note: geometric morphometrics and sexual dimorphism of the greater sciatic notch in adults from two skeletal collections: the accuracy and reliability of sex classification.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2013 Dec 30;152(4):558-65. Epub 2013 Sep 30.

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Prague, 12844, Czech Republic.

The greater sciatic notch (GSN) is one of the most important and frequently used characteristics for determining the sex of skeletons, but objective assessment of this characteristic is not without its difficulties. We tested the robustness of GSN sex classification on the basis of geometric morphometrics (GM) and support vector machines (SVM), using two different population samples. Using photographs, the shape of the GSN in 229 samples from two assemblages (documented collections of a Euroamerican population from the Maxwell Museum, University of New Mexico, and a Hispanic population from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City) was segmented automatically and evaluated using six curve representations. The optimal dimensionality for each representation was determined by finding the best sex classification. The classification accuracy of the six curve representations in our study was similar but the highest and concurrently homologous cross-validated accuracy of 92% was achieved for a pooled sample using Fourier coefficient and Legendre polynomial methods. The success rate of our classification was influenced by the number of semilandmarks or coefficients and was only slightly affected by GSN marginal point positions. The intrapopulation variability of the female GSN shape was significantly lower compared with the male variability, possibly as a consequence of the intense selection pressure associated with reproduction. Males were misclassified more often than females. Our results show that by using a suitable GSN curve representation, a GM approach, and SVM analysis, it is possible to obtain a robust separation between the sexes that is stable for a multipopulation sample.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22373DOI Listing
December 2013

Changes in the sexual dimorphism of the human mandible during the last 1200 years in Central Europe.

Homo 2013 Dec 1;64(6):437-53. Epub 2013 Sep 1.

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Viničná 7, 128 44 Prague 2, Czech Republic. Electronic address:

According to many investigations, changes in mandibular morphology can occur synchronously with changes in the environment, and sexual dimorphism of the mandible can be influenced by the environment. Sexual dimorphism during the last 1200 years was evaluated using geometric morphometric analysis of virtual cranial models. The method of geometric morphometrics allows differences in size and shape to be assessed separately. We analyzed groups of adult individuals dating to Early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages, Early Modern Ages and from a modern Czech population (21st century). Significant sexual dimorphism in mandibular size was found in all populations. A trend in the sexual dimorphism of size was seen, with differences between the sexes increasing gradually over time. Size changes in female mandibles were a better reflection of environmental conditions and climate than size changes in male mandibles. Regarding changes in the sexual dimorphism of shape, significant dimorphism was found in all four samples. However, the pattern of mandibular shape dimorphism was different and varied considerably between samples. There was only one stable shape trait showing sexual dimorphism across all four samples in our study: the gonion lies more laterally in male than in female mandibles and male mandibles are relatively wider than female mandibles. Sexual dimorphism of shape is not influenced by the climate; instead sexual selection might play a role. This research supports earlier studies that have found that the degree and pattern of sexual dimorphism is population-specific and the factors regulating sexual dimorphism today may not be the same as those in the past.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchb.2013.05.003DOI Listing
December 2013

Urban-rural differences in stature in the population of medieval Bohemia.

Anthropol Anz 2013 ;70(1):43-55

Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

This study explores differences in stature and their diachronic trends between the urban and rural medieval populations of Bohemia. We estimated stature from the lengths of the long bones of subjects living in Prague (urban) and rural areas of present Czech territory. Our results indicate the absence of significant urban/rural differences in stature in the population living between the 11th and 14th century. For both sexes, the temporal variations in stature in this period show a statistically non-significant decrease in the rural, and increase in the urban, population samples. These findings suggest a uniformity of living conditions in the medieval population in this area of Central Europe. Economic factors causative for urban versus rural stature differences appear later in the Modern Age, probably in relation to industrialization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/0003-5548/2012/0276DOI Listing
June 2013