International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2023 (Vols. 1-61)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
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'Vančata V, Charvátová M, 2001: Post-Palaeolithic Homo sapiens Evolution in Central Europe: Changes in Body Size and Proportions in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. Anthropologie (Brno) 39, 2-3: 133-152'.
There has been a number of human remains studies of the Upper Palaeolithic to Neolithic transition in recent decades, associated with the transition to food producing and increased sedentism. However, human biological change did not cease with the advent of village agriculture and pastoralism, but it may well have continued through the Neolithic, the epi-Neolithic and into the early Bronze Age. In order to assess these potential human microevolutionary trends, we have studied the femora, tibiae, humeri and radii of three Neolithic samples with early agriculture and mixed pastoral / early agriculture types of economy (Jena, Germany - Linear Band Pottery Culture - 32 individuals, Zlota, Poland - Corded Ware Culture - 62 individuals, Praha, Czech Republic - Bell Beaker Culture - 15 individuals) and Únětice early Bronze Age Culture, Bajč, Slovak Republic (28 individuals). The data on Lengyel Culture and three Bronze Age Cultures from the Carpathian Basin published by Éry (1998) have also been included into our study. We have analysed the bones lengths and various measurements of lower and upper limb long bones, enabling to perform a detailed analysis of the lower and upper limb long bones robusticity. The Early Bronze Age population from Bajč is similar to other Bronze Age groups with the exception that the tibia is significantly longer in the Bajč sample. One of the important questions is which changes, if any, in body build and proportions emerged after the Neolithic to Bronze Age transition. Early Bronze Age population males are relatively tall and robust, while the females are significantly smaller than the males but still are relatively tall and robust in comparison to the females of the Linear Band Pottery Culture and Lengyel Culture. We have found marked similarities among Únětice early Bronze Age Culture, Bell Beaker Culture and Corded Ware Culture populations with the exception of Corded Ware Culture females that are somewhat more gracile. All the three populations differ significantly from both Linear Band Pottery Culture and Lengyel Culture population, where the males are relatively short and very robust and the females are very small and gracile. The most probable explanation of those differences is a different way of life among early agricultural and mixed pastorals / early agriculturist populations. They probably differed in their use of natural resources, environmental zones and reproductive strategies. It is worth noting that the Únětice early Bronze Age Culture, Bell Beaker Culture and Corded Ware Culture populations are also similar to Mesolithic humans in many features of body build, proportions and bone morphology. Consequently it may be supposed that microevolutionary trends, ecology and the adaptive strategy of non-agricultural populations were rather conservative from the Mesolithic until the early Bronze Age.
Body size - Proportions - Homo sapiens - Únětice Culture - Neolithic - Bronze Age - Microevolution

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