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Skeletal Biology of the Ancient Rapanui (Easter Islanders)

Provides a comprehensive analysis of Rapanui prehistory, useful for archaeologists, bioarchaeologists and researchers interested in the history of Easter Island
Biological evidence is presented in a succinct and easy to read manner, allowing researchers to further evaluate preconceptions originating from cultural anthropology and folklore
Cranial differences are combined with DNA evidence to examine the genetic relationships between different Rapanui tribes

Series: Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology Volume: 72

By: Vincent H Stefan (Editor), George W Gill (Editor)

335 pages, 74 b/w photos and illustrations, 53 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jan 2016 | #225734 | ISBN-13: 9781107023666
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £79.99 $98/€90 approx

About this book

Disseminating what is currently known about the skeletal biology of the ancient Rapanui and placing it within the wider context of Polynesian skeletal variation, Skeletal Biology of the Ancient Rapanui (Easter Islanders) is the culmination of over thirty years of research into the remotely inhabited Easter Island. Compiling osteological data deriving from Rapanui skeletal remains into one succinct analysis, this book demonstrates how the application of modern skeletal biology research techniques can effectively be employed to address questions of human population origins and microevolution. Craniometrics and DNA analysis are used to provide indications as to Rapanui ancestral lineage.

Evidence is presented in a user-friendly manner to allow researchers and graduates to critically analyse the current knowledge of prehistoric Rapanui skeletal variation. An important resource providing valuable evidence from human biology that modifies earlier archaeological and cultural anthropological views, Skeletal Biology of the Ancient Rapanui (Easter Islanders) will stimulate further research into the Rapanui.


List of contributors

1. Introduction: research overview George W. Gill
2. Review of Polynesian and Pacific skeletal biology Michael Pietrusewsky and Michele Toomay Douglas
3. Chronology and Easter Island prehistory Carl P. Lipo and Terry L. Hunt
4. A descriptive skeletal biology analysis of the ancient Easter Island population George W. Gill and Vincent H. Stefan
5. Craniometric variation of the prehistoric Polynesians and Rapanui Vincent H. Stefan
6. Rapanui nonmetric cranial traits Patrick M. Chapman
7. Intra-island discrete cranial trait variation Thomas Furgeson and George W. Gill
8. Continuous nonmetric characteristics of the early Rapanui George W. Gill
9. Rapanui dental morphology Vincent H. Stefan and Randy Rozen
10. Pelvic variability and sexual dimorphism in prehistoric Rapanui Amber Harrison and Nathan K. Harper
11. Genetic affinities of the Rapanui Erika Hagelberg
12. Archaeogenetics and paleodemographic estimation of founding populations: features of residential geography on Rapanui John V. Dudgeon, Amy S. Commendador and Monica Tromp
13. Evidence for injuries and violent death Douglas W. Owsley, Kathryn G. Barca, Vicki E. Simon and George W. Gill
14. Demographic analysis of modified crania from Rapanui Douglas W. Owsley, Vicki E. Simon, Kathryn G. Barca, Jo Anne Van Tilburg and Deidre Whitmore
15. East Polynesian and Paleoindian parallels and contrasts in skeletal morphology George W. Gill
16. Rapanui origins, relationships and warfare: a summary in theoretical context George W. Gill and Vincent H. Stefan


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Vincent H. Stefan is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Herbert H. Lehman College and the Graduate School, City University of New York, as well as a faculty member of the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology. His research centres upon the documentation and analysis of contemporary and prehistoric skeletal variation, as well as forensic skeletal analysis and identification.

George W. Gill is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Wyoming where he taught bioanthropology for forty years. He is a former Chair of Anthropology and Director of the University of Wyoming Anthropology Museum. His ongoing research interests include American and Polynesian skeletal biology and bioarchaeology, Paleoindian osteology, and forensic skeletal analysis and identification.