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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 55-62

Quantitative anthropometric and dermatoglyphic variation of the major ethnic populations in Nigeria

1 Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Anatomy; Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Moses Olusola Adetona
Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jeca.jeca_33_18

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BACKGROUND: Anthropometry is one of the oldest and widely used measures of human variation. Dermatoglyphics is a valuable technique in human population studies by virtue of its uniqueness, genetic determination, and less vulnerability to selection than other genetic markers. AIMS: The study aims (1) to elucidate the traditional ethnic identities in Nigeria which are increasingly facing disintegration due to improved means of communication and urbanization and reduced inbreeding and (2) to describe ethnic characteristics that may be valuable for forensic application and future studies of effects on human diversity. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We obtained quantitative anthropometric and dermatoglyphic data from 560 volunteers of both sexes, of Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa origin. The sampling fraction used to attain target sample size for random selection of eligible volunteers was based on the national population figure. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Univariate analysis of variance was used to determine patterns variations, while multivariate analysis was used to determine discrimination among ethnic populations. RESULTS: The anthropometric and dermatoglyphic variables revealed a discrimination that is consistent with ethnohistorical affiliations. Multiple discriminant analysis of the anthropometrics showed higher discrimination power than the dermatoglyphic variables. The derived ethnic classifying equations from anthropometric parameters classified volunteers as Yoruba 78.2%, Hausa 82.4%, Igbo 91.4%; the dermatoglyphic parameters classified volunteers as Yoruba 66.8%, Hausa 57.4%, Igbo 65.3%. The canonical discriminant function of the anthropometric and dermatoglyphic variables showed clustering of the ethnic populations around each ethnic centroid. CONCLUSIONS: The results provide ethnohistorical insights into the structure of the ethnic populations and demonstrate the relationship of the gene flow in the ethnic groups through their exhibited phenotypic characteristics.

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