Lumila Menendez

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Konrad Lorenz Institut

Grant number

Gr. 9708

Approve Date

October 5, 2018

Project Title

Menendez, Dr. Lumila P., Konrad Lorenz Institut, Klosterneuburg, Austria - To aid research on ''Human Endocranial Variation in the southern cone: Implications for the Peopling of South America'

Preliminary abstract: Several aspects about the peopling of the New World remain as yet unaddressed. One such enigma concerns evolutionary diversification processes, including whether these resulted from multiple migration waves or local adaptive responses following a single migration into the Americas. The sparseness of relevant human skeletal samples has long hindered sufficient assessment of such competing models. Using samples from Arroyo Seco 2, as well as other sites in the Argentinean Pampas, the present project aims to shed light on diachronic morphological variation in a bounded region. Additionally, through the analysis of ~500 comparative samples from the Pampa, Andes, Delta, Cuyo, Central-Hills, and Patagonia, that are currently housed in South American museums, this project will evaluate the role of stochastic and non-stochastic factors in shaping the morphlogical diversification of human populations at the southern cone in South America. More crucially, by comparing the morphological variation of the endo- and ectocranium, this study will evaluate their differential phylogeographic signal among South American populations, and will contribute to current debates surrounding the early peopling of the continent. For this, morphological variation in ecto- and endocrania will be analyzed through virtual anthropology, as well as geometric morphometric methods by using CT-scans and photogrammetry. The application of cutting-edge technologies from Virtual Anthropology such as high quality imaging will be combined with a detailed archaeological site study in an empiric cross-over between natural sciences and humanities. Such novel approach would contribute to the understanding of the diversification of the populations from the southern cone, as well as the concomitant implications for the peopling of South America.