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Geometric morphometric analysis of Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. (foxtail millet) and Brachiaria ramosa (L.) Stapf. (browntop millet) and its implications for understanding the biogeography of small millets

AuthorsGarcía-Granero Fos, Juan José ; Arias-Martorell, Júlia; Madella, Marco ; Lancelotti, Carla
KeywordsGeometric morphometrics
Identification criteria
Shape analysis
Small millets
Crop dispersal
Issue Date2016
CitationVegetation History and Archaeobotany (25/3) : 303-310 (2016)
AbstractSetaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. (foxtail millet) was originally domesticated in northern China. The time and route of its introduction into South Asia is currently unclear due to the possible confusion with autochthonous Brachiaria ramosa (L.) Stapf. (browntop millet). Geometric morphometrics (GM) offer an alternative to traditional archaeobotanical methods to distinguish between these two small millet species. This study aims at finding a method to securely distinguish among charred caryopses of S. italica and B. ramosa, testing its validity on archaeobotanical assemblages and proposing a new approach for studying the dispersion of S. italica throughout Eurasia. Modern S. italica (n = 35) and B. ramosa (n = 34) caryopses and 15 archaeological specimens from a 5th millennium bp archaeological occupation site in northwestern India were analysed. Archaeological and modern caryopses (before and after charring) were photographed with a Leica EZ4D stereoscope, and TPSdig software was used to scale the photographs and manually apply a configuration of three landmarks and six semi-landmarks onto the contours of the embryos. Multivariate statistics were carried out to analyse the shape differences between modern S. italica and B. ramosa and to classify the archaeological specimens. The results show that the shape of the embryo of both species can be clearly distinguished using a GM-approach, both before and after charring. However, charring tends to smooth the shape differences between the two groups, which may affect the interpretation of archaeobotanical assemblages. The comparison between modern and archaeological caryopses suggests that S. italica was not present in northwestern India during the 5th millennium bp.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00334-015-0541-z
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00334-015-0541-z
issn: 0939-6314
Appears in Collections:(IMF) Artículos
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