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Physical anthropology of Atayalic-speakers
Topic Started: May 14 2017, 01:36:39 PM (20 Views)
black man
The Right Hand
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Atayalic-speakers are AFAIK mostly aborigines of the northern highlands of Taiwan. Traditionally, they lived in relatively small communities which are distributed over a relatively large region. So one or the other Atayalic-speaking community might have non-Atayalic ancestry. And genetics and physical anthropology might confirm this.

Actually, fig. 2 of Abe and Tamura 1981 indicates that certain Atayalic-speaking communities are on average brachycephalic, whereas others are on average mesocephalic. And, interestingly, the latter didn't necessarily become more brachycephalic despite of a general brachycephalisation trend in East Asians of the second half of the 20th century judging from the data of the sample measured by Abe and Tamura (in case that the latter measured it in the second half of the 20th century). The sample of Abe and Tamura might have consisted of brachycephalic and meso-dolichocephalic individuals to a similar extent respectively with its average head index having 80,5 (in both sexes).

By contrast, the Atayal sample described by Uchida Yuukou 1987 was predominately brachycephalic with its average head indices having been 85,4 (in males) and 86,7 (in females). As can be seen in Uchida's fig. 1, these Atayal people were from northern inland Taiwan with three of four communities having been those of geographically relatively northwestern Atayalic-speakers. So the difference indicated above might that between (brachycephalic) inland Atayalic-speakers and (mesocephalic) eastern (coastal) Atayalic-speakers.

In his work on Taiwanese aborigines Chai Chenkang refers to the average metric values of inland Atayal samples from four different locations, two being from the northernmost, two from the southernmost parts of the Atayalic-speaking region. Nevertheless, the average values are very distinctive to the extent that one might wonder whether there were any computational errors. Alternatively, one might explain the according values as side effects of different techniques used while measuring. And that's plausible since the results are all in all rather in agreement with the findings of studies by different anthropometrists...

In any case, Chai's Atayal samples seem to metrically resemble those of his other samples from rather patrifocal TAs, the average values implying that both Atayal, Bununs, Tsous and Saisiyats tend to be more or less leptoprosopic when compared with less patrifocal TAs. And this is in agreement with the fact these patrifocal TAs are geographically rather northern, whereas the less patrifocal ones examined by Chai are rather southern and eastern. But apart from that, the apparent lack of facial width in Chai's Atayal samples appears to cause significant differences as for other indices (relative mouth width in particular). Concerning two of these (ZGI and FGI), the Atayals appear to resemble the Saisiyats, though. So that might be due to different trait combinations rather than due to computational errors.

Further, the Atayals seems to have a couple of features in common with other rather patrifocal TAs:
- relatively wide foreheads (like Bununs and Tsous)
- partly possibly relatively wide jaws (especially when one compares the jaw with the forehead, like in Rukais and Bununs)

Sources:
Abe and Tamura 1981: "台湾原住民の生体計測学的研究"
Chai Chenkang 1967: "Taiwan aborigines"
Uchida 1987: "台湾 Atayal 族の頭顔面部の形質人類学的研究"
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