Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Richard L. Jantz

Committee Members

Fred H. Smith, William M. Bass


This study presents a multivariate analysis based on sets of twenty-six palatal measurements from males and females of three racial groups. The analysis examines the occurrence and degree of inter- and intrapopulational relationships. Morphological interpretations are provided whenever possible for the multivariate functions and factors identified. Additionally, discriminant functions from which individuals may be classified into their proper racial and sexual group are calculated and their degree of accuracy discussed.

The data for this investigation were obtained from two skeletal collections. Representatives of Negro and White populations were provided from the Terry Collection housed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. Data from two American Indian populations, the Mobridge and Larson, were obtained from the Bass Plains Skeletal Collection housed at the Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The total sample consists of palates from fifty White males and twenty-four females, fifty male and female American Negroes, and twenty-five males and females from each American Indian site. Measurements representing length, breadth, and height dimensions were taken on each palate. In addition, eight measurements were taken on each male cranium for correlation analysis.

All statistical analyses of the data were carried out utilizing the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) except in the classification analysis for which discriminant functions were computed through procedures of the Biomedical Series (BMD). The data were subjected to univariate and multivariate statistical techniques including discriminant and factor analyses. The results were then examined in order to determine whether variability in palatal morphology could be identified within and between racial groups. Finally, tests of probability were used to evaluate the significance of the observed group differences.

The results indicate that significant differences in palatal morphology do occur between the samples. Evidence also suggests that interpopulational differences are greater than intrapopulational differences. For both sexes, the morphological pattern may be summarized as follows: long, moderately wide and moderately deep palates in the Negro samples; short, wide and deep palates in the American Indian samples; short, narrow and shallow palates in the White samples. The evolutionary causes for these differences in palatal dimensions are not discussed in this investigation.

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