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vol.33 issue1WHALES AND DOLPHINS IN SELK`NAM WORLD: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC APPROACHEARLY SHELL GATHERERS IN THE SOUTHEASTERN PART OF CHILOÉ ISLAND: PRELIMINARY RESULTS author indexsubject indexarticles search
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Magallania (Punta Arenas)

On-line version ISSN 0718-2244

Abstract

PEARSON, OSBJORN M  and  MILLONES, MARIO. SKELETAL FEATURES SHOWING ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE AND ACTIVITY OF ABORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO. Magallania [online]. 2005, vol.33, n.1, pp.37-50. ISSN 0718-2244.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-22442005000100003.

The people who lived on Tierra del Fuego Island at the time of European contact offer a remarkable opportunity to study the effects on the skeleton of long-term adaptation to climate and the short-term adaptation to habitual activity. The island provided one of the coldest habitats in South America. Two groups with different subsistence strategies occupied the island at contact: the Yámana along the southern and western coast and the Selk’nam in the interior. The dissimilar subsistence patterns would support contrasting predictions about robusticity and diaphyseal shapes of long bones in the upper and lower limb. Due to climate, both groups should show levels of limb and joint robusticity and body proportions similar to other cold adapted humans. Skeletons of either group are rare in North America and Europe. Selk’nam and Yámana skeletons were measured at Museums in Argentina and Chile and supplemented with published data. Robusticity indices of the shafts and epiphyses of limb bones, relative bi-iliac breadth, and AP/ML midshaft ratios were calculated and compared. The results show the Fueguians had very robust limb bones and relatively broad pelves in common with the most cold-adapted recent populations. However, no significant differences existed in matched-sex comparisons of upper limb versus lower limb robusticity or in pilastric and platycnemic indices. The difference in ethnographically documented activity and lack of its skeletal manifestation argues for the use of caution in interpreting these traits

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