Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Erin Kimmerle, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

David Himmelgreen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nancy White, Ph.D.


microevolution, craniometric analysis, gene flow, human variation, prehistoric Florida populations


The analysis of craniometric data collected from skeletal remains, combined with

archaeological data, can provide very valuable information pertaining to biological

distance and gene flow among prehistoric populations through space and time. The goal

of this study was to examine microevolutionary change among prehistoric populations in

south Florida based on the degree of cranial variation among populations at seven

prehistoric sites. It was expected that as time progressed, microevolutionary forces

caused significant changes in the crania of the various populations based on the relative

geographic proximity of the sites and the temporal distance between sites.

A Microscribe 3-DX digitizer was used to collect coordinate data using the full

protocol of cranial landmarks. Twenty-three interlandmark distances for n=223 skulls

from seven sites, ranging in age from 8120 B.P. to 260 B.P., were analyzed using Cluster

Analysis, an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), a Tukey’s Pairwise Comparison (post-hoc

test), a Multiple Analysis of Variance (MANOVA), and Principal Components Analysis

(PCA) in SPSS 18.0. The seven sites were Windover (8Br246), Perico Island (8Ma6),

Captiva Island (8Ll57), Belle Glade (8Pb40), Horr’s Island (8Cr41), Safety Harbor

(8Pi2), and Fuller Mound A (8Br90). Of the 223 crania used, zero (0) skulls were 100%


Results of univariate and multivariate statistical analyses indicate that there are

significant differences among the seven groups. The agglomerative cluster analysis did

not provide significant results. When using Maximum Cranial Length (GOL), the

ANOVA (F=5.190, p ≤ 0.000) and post-hoc tests indicated that there was a significant

amount of variation among the seven populations. In a series of 12 MANOVA tests, it

was determined that significant variation existed between Windover and each of the

remaining six sites (F > 5, p ≤ 0.000). Additionally, the MANOVA tests indicated that

significant variation existed between Horr’s Island and Safety Harbor (F = 8.151, p

0.000) and between Safety Harbor and Fuller Mound A (F = 5.549, p

0.000). Last, a

Principal Components Analysis demonstrated that measurements consistent with length

or breadth accounted for the largest percentage of variation among the populations.

In conclusion, the data strongly demonstrate a significant amount of variation

among prehistoric populations as time progressed from 8120 B.P. to 260 B.P.

Specifically, changes in gene flow which can be attributed to significant differences

among populations based on craniometric data parallel major time gaps and historical

events in Florida. More generally, these results can be applied to other past populations

to investigate similar patterns of gene flow and changes that may have occurred due to

various social, political, and environmental stressors.