First direct dates of dingo bones from a site in Western Australia. Dingoes are one of the few mammals that crossed water (most likely accompanying humans) before European arrival. The dates and location of the site suggest that dingoes spread throughout the continent relatively quickly after their introduction.
New dates on dingo bones from Madura Cave provide oldest firm evidence for arrival of the species in Australia
Balme et al.
The dingo is the only placental land mammal aside from murids and bats to have made the water crossings to reach Australia prior to European arrival. It is thought that they arrived as a commensal animal with people, some time in the mid Holocene. However, the timing of their arrival is still a subject of major debate with published age estimates varying widely. This is largely because the age estimates for dingo arrival are based on archaeological deposit dates and genetic divergence estimates, rather than on the dingo bones themselves. Currently, estimates vary from between 5000–4000 years ago, for finds from archaeological contexts, and as much as 18,000 based on DNA age estimates. The timing of dingo arrival is important as post arrival they transformed Indigenous societies across mainland Australia and have been implicated in the extinction of a number of animals including the Tasmanian tiger. Here we present the results of direct dating of dingo bones from their oldest known archaeological context, Madura Cave on the Nullarbor Plain. These dates demonstrate that dingoes were in southern Australia by between 3348 and 3081 years ago. We suggest that following their introduction the dingo may have spread extremely rapidly throughout mainland Australia.
Source: New dates on dingo bones from Madura Cave provide oldest firm evidence for arrival of the species in Australia | Nature Scientific Reports
via Mongo Bay, 09 June 2018: The archaeology of Makassar and the prehistoric Toalian culture. Article is in Bahasa.
Maros point, begitu nama mata panah ini. Usia diperkirakan antara 7.000 hingga 3.500 tahun. Benda ini ditemukan di banyak tempat di kawasan karts Maros, termasuk di Leang Jarie. Bulan…
Source: Misteri Mata Panah dan Kerangka Manusia di Maros
New paper in PLOS One describing mandibles from the Niah Caves – these were excavated by the Harrissons in 1957.
Rare Late Pleistocene-early Holocene human mandibles from the Niah Caves (Sarawak, Borneo)
Darren Curnoe, Ipoi Datan, Jian-xin Zhao, Charles Leh Moi Ung, Maxime Aubert, Mohammed S. Sauffi, Goh Hsiao Mei, Raynold Mendoza, Paul S. C. Taçon
The skeletal remains of Late Pleistocene-early Holocene humans are exceptionally rare in island Southeast Asia. As a result, the identity and physical adaptations of the early inhabitants of the region are poorly known. One archaeological locality that has historically been important for understanding the peopling of island Southeast Asia is the Niah Caves in the northeast of Borneo. Here we present the results of direct Uranium-series dating and the first published descriptions of three partial human mandibles from the West Mouth of the Niah Caves recovered during excavations by the Harrissons in 1957. One of them (mandible E/B1 100″) is somewhat younger than the ‘Deep Skull’ with a best dating estimate of c30-28 ka (at 2σ), while the other two mandibles (D/N5 42–48″ and E/W 33 24–36″) are dated to a minimum of c11.0–10.5 ka (at 2σ) and c10.0–9.0 ka (at 2σ). Jaw E/B1 100″ is unusually small and robust compared with other Late Pleistocene mandibles suggesting that it may have been ontogenetically altered through masticatory strain under a model of phenotypic plasticity. Possible dietary causes could include the consumption of tough or dried meats or palm plants, behaviours which have been documented previously in the archaeological record of the Niah Caves. Our work suggests a long history back to before the LGM of economic strategies involving the exploitation of raw plant foods or perhaps dried and stored meat resources. This offers new insights into the economic strategies of Late Pleistocene-early Holocene hunter-gatherers living in, or adjacent to, tropical rainforests.
Source: Rare Late Pleistocene-early Holocene human mandibles from the Niah Caves (Sarawak, Borneo)
Very exciting news out of the Philippines today, a paper published in Nature describes the discovery of stone tools and a butchered rhino fossil in the Cagayan Valley that dates to between 777,000 – 631,000 years ago. This early date forces us to rethink hominin capabilities in crossing water during the Pleistocene.
Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Ingicco et al.
Over 60 years ago, stone tools and remains of megafauna were discovered on the Southeast Asian islands of Flores, Sulawesi and Luzon, and a Middle Pleistocene colonization by Homo erectus was initially proposed to have occurred on these islands1,2,3,4. However, until the discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2003, claims of the presence of archaic hominins on Wallacean islands were hypothetical owing to the absence of in situ fossils and/or stone artefacts that were excavated from well-documented stratigraphic contexts, or because secure numerical dating methods of these sites were lacking. As a consequence, these claims were generally treated with scepticism5. Here we describe the results of recent excavations at Kalinga in the Cagayan Valley of northern Luzon in the Philippines that have yielded 57 stone tools associated with an almost-complete disarticulated skeleton of Rhinoceros philippinensis, which shows clear signs of butchery, together with other fossil fauna remains attributed to stegodon, Philippine brown deer, freshwater turtle and monitor lizard. All finds originate from a clay-rich bone bed that was dated to between 777 and 631 thousand years ago using electron-spin resonance methods that were applied to tooth enamel and fluvial quartz. This evidence pushes back the proven period of colonization6 of the Philippines by hundreds of thousands of years, and furthermore suggests that early overseas dispersal in Island South East Asia by premodern hominins took place several times during the Early and Middle Pleistocene stages1,2,3,4. The Philippines therefore may have had a central role in southward movements into Wallacea, not only of Pleistocene megafauna7, but also of archaic hominins.
Source: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago | Nature
- Ancient humans settled the Philippines 700,000 years ago | Science, 02 May 2018
- Butchered Rhino Suggests Humans Lived in the Philippines 700,000 Years Ago | Seeker, 02 May 2018
- 700,000-Year-Old Stone Tools Point to Mysterious Human Relative | National Geographic, 02 May 2018
- Stunning Discovery Shows Early Humans Were Hunting Rhinos in the Philippines Over 700,000 Years Ago | Gizmodo, 02 May 2018
- New find shows early humans were in the Philippines 700,000 years ago | Phys.org, 02 May 2018
- Ancient butchered rhino suggests humans lived in the Philippines 700,000 years ago | ABC, 03 May 2018
- Rhino fossil rewrites the earliest human history of the Philippines | The Conversation, 03 May 2018
- Traces of early humans in Philippines 700,000 years ago raise question of whether they were seafarers | Japan Times, 03 May 2018
- Discovery suggests humans lived in Philippines much earlier than believed | NBC News, 03 May 2018
- Butchered rhino unearthed in Philippines suggests the origin of ‘hobbits’ | The Independent, 03 May 2018
- A Mysterious Human Ancestor Used These 700,000-Year-Old Tools From The Philippines | Science Alert, 03 May 2018
- Find pushes back hominin arrival in the Philippines seven hundred thousand years | Cosmos, 04 May 2018
via The Star, 08 April 2018:
Muzium Negara hosts China’s The Peking Man Exhibition: Zhoukoudian Heritage Site, a touring exhibit shedding light on a species that provides the biological link between ape and man.
Source: Muzium Negara Pieces Together Origins Of Mankind With Peking Man Exhibit | Star2.com
via Chanel NewsAsia, 07 April 2018:
SINGAPORE: In 1962, Goh Thiam Hoon had only been digging in the heavy, damp soil for a short while when he found what he was looking for. But achieving his goal on his first day on the job didn’t make him happy. Far from it. “I could not believe it,” he said, describing feelings of uneasiness. Mr Goh, who was aged 25 at the time, had just uncovered a mass grave filled with piles of bones belonging to victims of the Second World War. This was near Jalan Puay Poon in Bedok, close to where Temasek Junior College now sits.
Source: ‘They didn’t even have coffins’: The man who dug up the remains of World War II victims in Singapore
via Forbes, 26 Feb 2018:
An ancient dog skeleton reveals humans’ attachment to canine companions extends to the past.
Source: Archaeologists Find Deformed Dog Buried Near Ancient Child In The Philippines
via Heritage Daily, 12 December 2017: 12,000-year-old fish hooks found in a burial in Alor Island, Indonesia.
Archaeologists from the Australian National University has discovered five fish hooks dating from the Pleistocene era, approximately 12,000 years ago on Indonesia’s Alor Island.
Source: Discovery of world’s oldest funerary fish hooks by ANU archaeologists
via Coconuts Yangon, 08 December 2017
Skeletons, urns containing pieces of bones, and the remains of a building were unearthed when a river carried away a chunk of a riverbank on Tuesday.
Source: Skeletons from possible ancient city exposed by riverbank erosion | Coconuts Yangon
via Sapiens, 30 Nov 2017:
Homo floresiensis thrived on the island of Flores for thousands of years—and then vanished. One researcher is studying rat remains to figure out why.
Source: Can Rat Bones Solve an Island Mystery?