Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Richard L. Jantz

Committee Members

William M. Bass, Lyle M. Konigsberg, Christine R. Boake, Murray K. Marks


Siberian people, residing in the wide range bounded by the Urals to the West, Beringia to the East, Mongolia to the South, and Arctic to the North, form an important link between Asia, Europe and people in the New World. However, biological contribution of Siberians to Asians, Europeans and people in the New World were not sufficiently studied until recently.

Previous extensive Siberian studies were mainly conducted by Russians and Japanese researchers, most of whom agreed that Siberians were clearly classified by typology. However, their typology is problematic when explaining tribes i.e., Evenks and Evens, who are exchanging genes and culture with their neighbors. Previous studies also contain problems such as methodology and lack of data especially for westerners because of political barriers between the U.S. and Russia.

This study attempts to reveal biological relationships among Siberians. The extensive data, including 647 crania, more than 3000 fingerprints, and over 340 blood samples, are available from the wide Siberian regions. Biological variation is evaluated with Fst, and biological patterning is summarized with UPGMA clusters and contour maps. Furthermore, matrix comparisons between geography and biological data sets are investigated with Mantel t-test.

Siberian biological variation in this study shows low variation except for crania. High cranial variation may have resulted from the selection of measurements, environmental influences, selection and genetic drift. Low variation in dermatolyphics and blood may have been related to less environmental effects, and nature or function of blood and dermatoglyphic systems which are used in this study.

Siberian biological relationships are patterned primarily regionally and linguistically. Southern Siberian Altaic speakers, for instance, are biologically close to one another. Such regional and linguistic patterning matches Russian typology. However, this study also showed three forces of Siberian population structure, reflecting Siberian history: a north-south connection reflecting dispersions of occupants through prehistory, a west-east connection indicating the migration and diffusion of Bronze cultures, and east and west influences in the Baikal regions reflecting cultural and political influences. Such distributions and migration patterns were insufficiently demonstrated by previous typological studies. Significant correlations between geography and finger ridge counts, fingers and blood, crania and blood, as well as crania and finger ridge counts indicate a common N-S connection.

Today, the investigation of origins and divergence of Siberians are more difficult due to heavy admixture with Russians and decrease of "pure" indigenous tribes. This study provides useful biological information of Siberian indigenous populations and their history.

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