Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Richard L. Jantz

Committee Members

David G. Anderson, J.P. Dessel, Andrew Kramer


There is much debate regarding the ancestral area(s) and migration patterns of the first migrants into the Americas, referred to here as Paleoamericans. Using craniometric data of a comprehensive sample of Paleoamericans, Archaic Americans and modern, worldwide populations, various statistical analyses were conducted to further investigate these research questions, such as principal component analysis, Mahalanobis squared distance matrices and matrix permutation and design matrix analysis.

Most results indicate that the Single Wave model for movement into the New World is best supported by this data. This finding is among the first in providing craniometric support for a single wave into the New World, which corresponds with findings in genetic research.

A definitive interpretation of ancestral area(s) of the Paleoamericans is not provided by these results. The evidence leans towards either southeast Asia/Pacific Rim or eastern Asia as the ancestral area for all geographic groupings of Paleoamericans. Additionally, there are consistent phenotypic connections between the North American Paleoamericans and modern, European populations as well as between South American Paleoamericans and modern, African populations. Whether this represents a true genotypic connection between these areas is dependent on additional research in cranial plasticity and modes of evolution within the Americas.

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