Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




G. G. Gaherty


E. Glanville



Committee Member

W.C. Noble


This study is a comparative skeletal analysis of three Iroquoian Indian populations. More specifically, it utilizes an established methodology for examining selected non-metrical traits found on the skull. The statistical distribution of non-metrical traits (having an underlying genetic component) supplies information regarding biological affinities among the three populations under study. These include two Neutral Indian populations and one Huron Indian population, all dating from the seventeenth century. It may be expected that the Neutral populations, being culturally and linguistically homogeneous and of a similar period in time, would be genetically similar. The Huron population, being slightly dissimilar culturally from the Neutral populations may show a corresponding genetic "dissimilarity. Because the- three populations are of a homogeneous Iroquoian base, however, the degree of dissimilarity would be expected to be small. It was in order to clarify the biological affinities between the populations that this study was undertaken.

It has been concluded, through multivariable statistical testing, that a major distinction between Neutral and Huron populations does not exist on the basis of the traits examined. While differences between the three pairs of populations do exist, it has been concluded that the magnitude of these differences is small. Furthermore, of the seventeen variants showing statistical significance at the 0.05 level, eight of these may appear statistically significant because of sampling bias in such factors as age, sex, laterality, and correlation of variants. It appears that statistical significance may imply real biological difference for such variants as frontal grooves, zygomatic facial foramen, paramastoid process, parietal notch and parietal bone, chin form, gonial eversion and accessory mandibular foramen. Suggestions for methodological review have been offered in conclusion of this study.

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