What would be considered Middle Eastern ancestry



22.08.2019 08:20

Skull deformation as a sign of belonging

Alexandra Frey public relation
University of Vienna

Researchers study individuals who lived at the time of the Great Migration

Under the direction of Ron Pinhasi from the University of Vienna and Mario Novak from the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb, a team of scientists examined the eating habits, gender and genetic relationships of three adolescents who lived at the time of the Great Migration in the 5th century and during an excavation in Osijek discovered in eastern Croatia. At that time, this region of Europe was populated by different nomadic peoples, such as the Huns or Germanic peoples, the Gepids and the Ostrogoths. The results are currently being published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

"Due to the unusual burial sites and the fact that two of the examined individuals had other forms of artificial skull deformation, the examination of these persons was extremely fascinating for us," says Daniel Fernandes, postdoc at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna and one of the first authors of this Study.

"Artificial skull deformation describes the deliberate deformation of the skull in childhood and aims to achieve a desired skull shape through the use of boards, bandages or special headgear," says Kendra Sirak, scientist at Harvard Medical School and also a first author of this study . This widespread cultural phenomenon was documented among various ancient population groups around the world and aimed to make belonging to a group or personal identity visible, e.g. to clearly distinguish oneself from other ethnic groups or one's own status, nobility or belonging to a certain one Show class or group.

"While all the skeletons of the three adolescents show signs of severe malnutrition, we were amazed that their genetic origins are so different," says Mario Novak, one of the lead authors and bioarchaeologist at the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb.

"The DNA analyzes have shown that the young person without artificial skull deformation has a predominantly Western European ancestry, the young person with the elongated skull shape has an East Asian ancestry and the third young person has a Middle Eastern ancestry," explains Ron Pinhasi, head of the DNA laboratory at the university Vienna and co-head of the study.

The young person of East Asian descent is also the first individual to be found in Europe from the time of the Great Migration, whose descent largely goes back to East Asia.

"These results suggest that the artificial skull deformation may have served to make the membership of a certain cultural group visible, and that these groups were in close contact with each other at the time of the migration in the Pannonian Plain," concludes Novak.

Publication in "PLOS ONE"
Daniel Fernandes, Kendra Sirak, Olivia Cheronet, Rachel Howcroft, Mislav Čavka, Dženi Los, Josip Burmaz, Ron Pinhasi, Mario Novak: Cranial deformation and genetic diversity in three adolescent male individuals from the Great Migration Period from Osijek, eastern Croatia
DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.021636
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216366


Scientific contact:

Assoc. Prof. Ron Pinhasi, PhD
Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
University of Vienna
1090 Vienna, Althanstraße 14 (UZA 1)
T + 43-1-4277-547 21
[email protected]

Consultation notice
Alexandra Frey
Press office and deputy Press officer
University of Vienna
1010 - Vienna, Universitätsring 1
T + 43-1-4277-175 33
M + 43-664-60277-175 33
[email protected]


Original publication:

Publication in "PLOS ONE"
Daniel Fernandes, Kendra Sirak, Olivia Cheronet, Rachel Howcroft, Mislav Čavka, Dženi Los, Josip Burmaz, Ron Pinhasi, Mario Novak: Cranial deformation and genetic diversity in three adolescent male individuals from the Great Migration Period from Osijek, eastern Croatia
DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.021636
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216366


Additional Information:

https: //medienportal.univie.ac.at/presse/aktuelle-pressemeldung/detailansicht / ...


Features of this press release:
Journalists
History / archeology
supraregional
Research results, scientific publications
German