Female craniometrics support the ‘two-layer model’ of human dispersal in Eastern Eurasia

Hirofumi Matsumura*, Guangmao Xie*, Lan Cuong Nguyen, Tsunehiko Hanihara, Zhen Li, Khanh Trung Kien Nguyen, Xuan Tinh Ho, Thi Nga Nguyen, Shih Chiang Huang, Hsiao chun Hung*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    This study reports a cranio-morphometric analysis of female human remains from seven archaeological sites in China, Vietnam and Taiwan that date between 16,000 and 5300 BP. The aim of the analysis is to test the “two-layer” model of human dispersal in eastern Eurasia, using previously unanalysed female remains to balance the large sample of previously-analysed males. The resulting craniometric data indicate that the examined specimens all belong to the “first layer” of dispersal, and share a common ancestor with recent Australian and Papuan populations, and the ancient Jomon people of Japan. The analysed specimens pre-date the expansion of agricultural populations of East/Northeast Asian origin—that is, the “second layer” of human dispersal proposed by the model. As a result of this study, the two-layer model, which has hitherto rested on evidence only from male skeletons, is now strongly supported by female-derived data. Further comparisons reveal that the people of the first layer were closer in terms of their facial morphology to modern Africans and Sri Lankan Veddah than to modern Asians and Europeans, suggesting that the Late Pleistocene through Middle Holocene hunter-gatherers examined in this study were direct descendants of the anatomically modern humans who first migrated out of Africa through southern Eurasia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20830
    JournalScientific Reports
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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