Population Affinities of 19th Century Cuban Crania: Implications for Identification Criteria in South Florida Cuban Americans

Ann H. Ross, Dennis E. Slice, Douglas H. Ubelaker, Anthony B. Falsetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Identification criteria, specifically discriminant function formulae derived from traditional craniometrics, currently used in South Florida for Cuban Americans and other "Hispanic" groups, are unsuitable to provide adequate biological profiles due to complex biological histories as well as widely diverse geographic origins. Florida's total population is approximately 16 million (15,982,378) individuals. Of the total population 2,682,715, or 16.8%, are self-identified as "Hispanic". South Florida (herein defined as Miami-Dade, Broward and Collier Counties) is home to 60% of the total Hispanic population of Florida with 1,291,737 (48.15%) residing in Miami-Dade County. The Hispanic population of Miami-Dade County makes up 57.0% of the total population of 2,253,362. Each recognized sub-group of Hispanics (Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban) includes its own geographic point-of-origin and population history. Cuban-Americans (arriving in the late 1950's and early 1960's) make up the largest sub-population of Florida's Hispanics in any county and in Miami-Dade number 650,601 or 51% of the total Latin population. Additionally, as in other agricultural states, Florida has a very large population of undocumented workers who primarily arrive from Texas and points south of the Straits of Florida. Thus the application of the available traditional craniometric and non-metric methods are not appropriate for South Florida's Latin population. To begin to address this issue in relation to South Florida's Cuban population, we present an analysis of cranio-facial shape variation in a 19th Century Cuban sample, 17th Century Spanish sample, a Precontact Cuban sample, and Terry Blacks using geometric morphometric methods. Significant biological shape differences and patterns of variation are observed among the groups. These results provide us with a context in which to begin to understand the biological variation of Cuban Americans, which will enable the development of identification criteria specific for this U.S. hybrid Hispanic community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • 3-D coordinate data
  • Forensic science
  • Geometric morphometrics
  • Hispanic populations
  • Identification methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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