The impact of environmental stressors influenced the size of the skulls of the Cherokee people

The impact of environmental stressors influenced the size of the skulls of the Cherokee people


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A group of researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found environmental stressors. These factors are fundamental in relation to the formation of our physical characteristics. From the "Trail of Tears”Of the Civil War, these factors led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western groups of the Cherokee people.

«We wanted to see these historically significant events and expand our understanding of the tangible human impacts they had on the Cherokee people."Said Dr. Ann Ross, professor of anthropology and co-author of a paper describing the study."This work also adds to the body of literature on environmental effects on skull growth.”.

The researchers relied on historical data collected by Franz Boas in the 19th century. Boas picked up the length measurements (front to back) and the breadth of the skulls of many Native American tribes, including hundreds of members of the East and West Cherokee gangs.

The researchers analyzed the collected data, taking into account only adults, and organized them according to their year of birth, which ranged from 1783 to 1874. Over time head lengths in males and females decreased in both eastern and western Cherokee groups.

In the eastern group there was a steady decline in men, but a sharp drop in women from the late 1830s, coinciding with the Trail of Tears, at which point the group fled to the Great Smoky Mountains to avoid forced evacuation to the West.

At western group the men and women share a similar pattern of decline: a sharp decline from the end of 1820 to 1850, followed by a brief increase and then another sharp decline in the early 1860s, with the start of the Civil War.

The study aims to show the impact that those difficult times had on the physical growth of the Cherokee people. In addition, a good contribution is also made to the understanding of how environmental stressors can influence measurements of the skull, an important research point to advance the understanding of prehistoric and historical cultures and the impact of environmental factors on the health of women. populations of today.

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