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Dorset contribution to Inuit biological ancestry: the evidence of cranial morphology

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Ottawa (2000)


Skeletal remains retrieved from Dorset sites are too meagre to directly determine the identity and the fate of the Dorset people. Instead, the present study addressed them indirectly through patterns of biological affinity revealed by frequencies of 30 nonmetric cranial traits in 51 samples ( 3000 individuals) broadly representative of Eskimo and Aleut populations geographically and temporally. Multidimensional scaling of Mean Measures of Divergence showed samples clustering according to four regions. The present findings based on additional samples fit my earlier reconstruction of Arctic ethnogenesis and indicate that (1) Paleo-Eskimo were of a genetic stock very close to Chukchi as well as to ancestral Aleut and Na-Dene, and (2) modern Inuit of Canada and Greenland, through significant assimilation of Dorset indigenous people by Thule immigrant communities after A.D. 1000, preserve a stronger genetic Paleo-Eskimo heritage than do Alaskan and Siberian Eskimo.