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A Dental Metric Study of Medieval, Post Medieval, and Modern Basque Populations from Vitoria, Pais Vasco, Spain
AdvisorScott, Richard G.
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The linguistic, cultural and biological uniqueness of the Basque population has long interested anthropologists. While craniometrics and genetic markers have been used to address Basque origins and affinities, few studies have focused on Basque dental odontometrics. A recent study of dental morphology shows Basques have a classic European dental pattern, yet they are an outlier when compared to other European populations. To follow up on the study of crown and root morphology, mesiodistal (MD) and buccolingual (BL) measurements were taken from Medieval and post Medieval skeletal samples from the Catedral de Santa María, Vitoria, País Vasco, Spain along with living samples of modern Basque, Spanish, and Spanish Basques collected from dental students at the Universidad del País Vasco. In accordance with genetic and dental morphology studies, Basques are odontometric outliers in a broader European context. Biodistance analyses show Basque populations group with linguistically and geographically different populations, such as the NP Lapps and the Ainu. The grouping of Basques with Western Eurasian outliers suggests population isolation rather than affinity. Adding evidence to the antiquity of the Basque population in the area of Northern Spain, genetic drift and founder effect are mechanisms that could have influenced Basque uniqueness. These mechanisms have worked to preserve many of the characteristics within historic and modern Basques that represent the ancient people who entered Europe during the Upper Paleolithic. Even with admixture between North Africans, Spanish, and Frankish immigrants, the Basque still portray a uniqueness that suggests ancient origins in Western Europe.