Population history and dispersal of Taiwanese Indigenous people
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The purpose of this study is to present the biological affinity of four Taiwanese Indigenous groups. Previous studies based on linguistics and ethnography had shown that there are differences between the indigenous groups in Taiwan (Ferrell 1969; Utsurikawa et al. 1935). Archaeological remains also indicate that there was a wide variety of groups (Tsang 1995). In order to provide some biological evidence for this issue, the present research estimated the biodistance from both cranial measurements and non-metric cranial traits between the four Taiwanese Indigenous groups (Atayal, Bunun, Babuza, and Pazeh) from modern collections. It is hypothesized that the Taiwanese Indigenous groups would have significant biological differences: the Atayal and Bunun samples (mountain indigenous) would cluster, while the Babuza and Pazeh (lowland indigenous) would cluster separately. The two hypotheses were supported from both craniometric and non-metric data in the present study. Limited comparison with groups from other areas was also performed in order to examine the possible dispersal pattern of the Taiwanese Indigenous groups. Craniometric data from three samples (South Japan, Philippines, and Hainan) from the William W. Howells Craniometric Data Set and non-metric data of four samples (Philippines, South China, Southeast Asians, and Okinawa) from Fukumine et al. (2006) were used. Since the popular hypothesis of the Austronesians’ origin suggests that there was intensive movement between Taiwan and Philippines (e.g., Bellwood 1988; Diamond 2000; Melton et al. 1995; Solheim 1988; Su et al. 2000; Trejaut et al. 2005), it is hypothesized that the Taiwanese Indigenous groups would show the closest affinity with the samples from Philippines while the other groups would be in another cluster. However, this hypothesis is not supported in the present study. The result showed that the Taiwanese Indigenous groups and those from the Philippines are relatively distant. This supports the hypothesis of Tsang (2012) that the early dispersal of Austronesian groups may have occurred several times through multiple routes to Taiwan and the Philippines.