Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Fred H. Smith

Committee Members

R.L. Jantz, William M. Bass


This study examines differences in craniometric variation between two recent human populations in light of tooth size. A large-toothed group is represented by Australian Aborigines from the lower Murray River region and a relatively small-toothed group is represented by protohistoric Plains Amerindians from the Larson Site in South Dakota.

The craniometric variation of the two populations is examined by multivariate statistical techniques to determine if their crania are structured along similar lines. Metric differences between the groups are then examined along the structural dimensions common to both groups.

The crania of the two groups were found to be fairly similar structurally, although this phase of the analysis was difficult to interpret. It appears that the males of the two groups differ primarily in terms of facial prominence, while the females differ somewhat in the structuring of the frontal bone.

When the metrical differences between the groups are examined along the generalized structural lines common to both groups, some interesting patterns of differences arise. Some of these differences are interpretable in light of what is currently known about the functional significance of cranio-facial architecture. Other differences, of course, are not interpretable within this framework. These differences probably result from other factors, unrelated to tooth size, which affect cranial shape.

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