Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Richard L. Jantz

Committee Members

William M. Bass, Jan F. Simek


This thesis provides an overview of Anthropometric variation among six groups of American Indians: The Eastern Band of Cherokees, the Eastern Band of Choctaws, the Western Band of Cherokees, the Western Band of Choctaws, Kiowas, and Pawnees. Anthropometric variation among these groups is analyzed using a combination of historical and statistical information.

The history of the study groups was analyzed to determine the general level of health during the period leading up the point when they were measured under the direction of Dr. Franz Boas. It is revealed that all the study groups experienced considerable stress, which effected anthropometric measurements such as stature.

The anthropometric data used in this study consisted of 12 measurements taken on 869 individuals belonging to the above mentioned tribes, under the direction of Dr. Boas in the late 1800's. This anthropometric data is analyzed using means, analysis of variance, and canonical variates. The means study reveals that there is notable morphological variation on both an inter- and intra- tribe and band level. These findings are supported by the analysis of variance study, which shows that two dependent variables, sitting height and face breadth are significant influences for variation among the study groups on a tribe, sex, tribe*sex type III sums of squares level.

A historical review of the study groups relate considerable environmental stress acting on the study groups, while canonical variates study reveals that when the sexes are studied separately or together, there is substantial evidence for gene flow from among the groups and outside the groups as well.

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