[Paper] Craniometrics Reveal “Two Layers” of Prehistoric Human Dispersal in Eastern Eurasia

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Distribution of craniometric samples from Matsumura et al. 2019, Craniometrics Reveal “Two Layers” of Prehistoric Human Dispersal in Eastern Eurasia
Distribution of craniometric samples from Matsumura et al. 2019, Craniometrics Reveal “Two Layers” of Prehistoric Human Dispersal in Eastern Eurasia

via Nature Scientific Reports, 05 Feb 2019: Analysis of skulls from archaeological sites in Southeast and East Asia support a two-layer model of anatomically modern populations entering into Asia.

Craniometrics Reveal “Two Layers” of Prehistoric Human Dispersal in Eastern Eurasia
Nature Scientific Reports, Matsumura et al., https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-35426-z

This cranio-morphometric study emphasizes a “two-layer model” for eastern Eurasian anatomically modern human (AMH) populations, based on large datasets of 89 population samples including findings directly from ancient archaeological contexts. Results suggest that an initial “first layer” of AMH had related closely to ancestral Andaman, Australian, Papuan, and Jomon groups who likely entered this region via the Southeast Asian landmass, prior to 65–50 kya. A later “second layer” shared strong cranial affinities with Siberians, implying a Northeast Asian source, evidenced by 9 kya in central China and then followed by expansions of descendant groups into Southeast Asia after 4 kya. These two populations shared limited initial exchange, and the second layer grew at a faster rate and in greater numbers, linked with contexts of farming that may have supported increased population densities. Clear dichotomization between the two layers implies a temporally deep divergence of distinct migration routes for AMH through both southern and northern Eurasia.

Source: Craniometrics Reveal “Two Layers” of Prehistoric Human Dispersal in Eastern Eurasia | Scientific Reports

[Talk] The Origin of Prehistoric Cattle in Thailand

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Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this fun talk at the Siam Society later this month by Dr. Wunrada Surat. The talk is part of the Pint of Science event and is free with registration. [Disclosure I am part of the organising team of Pint of Science Thailand]

Date: 26 Feb 2019
Venue: Siam Society, Asok
Time: 7 pm (doors open at 6.30 pm)

The origin of prehistoric cattle in Thailand: evidence from ancient DNA

Dr. Wunrada Surat (Department of Genetics, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University)

Cattle have been domesticated in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, for thousands of years, but, the history of cattle domestication in the region remains unclear. To gain some insight into cattle domestication in Thailand we extracted and sequenced DNA from 26 cattle remains, excavated from four archaeological sites located in northeastern and central Thailand, and dated to between 3,550 and 1,700 years before present (YBP) which all belonged to B. taurus. This is the first genetic evidence of when B. taurus was domesticated in Thailand.

More details here.

Researchers unearth 6,000-year-old skeleton of teenage girl in Gua Chawan, Kelantan

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Department of National Heritage senior museum assistant Khairil Amri Abd Ghani examining the skeleton found in Gua Chawan, Kelantan. Source: The Star, 20181218

via Malay Mail and other sources, 18 December 2018: Archaeologists in Malaysia announce the discovery of a Mesolithic-period skeleton in Kelantan.

Department of National Heritage senior museum assistant Khairil Amri Abd Ghani examining the skeleton found in Gua Chawan, Kelantan. Source: The Star, 20181218

Department of National Heritage senior museum assistant Khairil Amri Abd Ghani examining the skeleton found in Gua Chawan, Kelantan. Source: The Star, 20181218

The skeleton from the Mesolithic period or middle stone age, was found by researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), archaeologists from National Heritage Department (JWN) and researchers from the History Department, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris during the archaeological excavation at the cave.

Source: Researchers unearth 6,000-year-old skeleton of teenage girl in Gua Chawan, Kelantan | Malaysia | Malay Mail

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Makassar Archaeologists Find Prehistoric Human Graves in Mallawa

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via Tribun-Timur, 31 October 2018: New site discovered in South Sulawesi. Article is in Bahasa.

Source: Tribun Timur.com. 20181031

Source: Tribun Timur.com. 20181031

Sementara ini hasil ekskavasi cukup mencengangkan. Mereka menemukan perkuburan manusia prasejarah di Leang Tete Hatu, Desa Batu Putih.

Source: Makassar Archaeologists Find Prehistoric Human Graves in Mallawa – East Tribune

Prehistoric vestiges unearthed in Vietnam

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Source: Viet Nam Express. 20181007

via Viet Nam Express, 07 October 2018:

Source: Viet Nam Express. 20181007

Source: Viet Nam Express. 20181007

Archeologists believe they have uncovered evidence that caves in northern Vietnam were home to prehistoric people 4,000 years ago.
Relics dating back to that time were found in three caves located in Chiem Hoa District, Tuyen Quang Province.

Trinh Nang Chung of the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology led the excavations that led to the finding of relics in Pu Chua Cave of Minh Quang Commune and Ngan and Khi Caves of Phuc Son Commune last July.

Source: Prehistoric vestiges unearthed in Vietnam – VnExpress International

Ancient skeletons discovered in Vietnam cave

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Source: VNE, 20180919

via VNE and other sources, 19 September 2018: Vietnamese arhaeologists announce the discovery of Neolithic human remains in a volcanic cave in Dak Nong Province.

Source: VNE, 20180919

Source: VNE, 20180919

The remains of 10 Neolithic humans have been found along with thousands of artifacts in the most bountiful archeological site in the region.

Scientists announced on Tuesday the results of their excavation in the Krong No volcanic cave in Dak Nong Province, in the southwest of the Central Highlands at the tail end of the Truong Son mountain chain.

Krong No is a volcanic cave system that has made headlines for its impressive scale and length. The 25-kilometer cave, the longest in Southeast Asia, starts at the Choar volcanic crater and stretches along the Serepok River, ending at Dray Sap waterfall.

Source: Ancient skeletons discovered in Vietnam cave – VnExpress International

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[Paper] Evolutionary history and adaptation of a human pygmy population of Flores Island, Indonesia

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A new paper in Science examining the genomes of modern pygmies in the island of Flores found similarities with Neanderthal and Denisovan  sequences, but nothing else unexpected, which would suggest that the modern pygmies have no genetic link with the island’s most famous pygmy, Homo floresiensis.

Evolutionary history and adaptation of a human pygmy population of Flores Island, Indonesia
Tucci et al.
Science, doi: 10.1126/science.aar8486

Flores Island, Indonesia, was inhabited by the small-bodied hominin species Homo floresiensis, which has an unknown evolutionary relationship to modern humans. This island is also home to an extant human pygmy population. Here we describe genome-scale single-nucleotide polymorphism data and whole-genome sequences from a contemporary human pygmy population living on Flores near the cave where H. floresiensis was found. The genomes of Flores pygmies reveal a complex history of admixture with Denisovans and Neanderthals but no evidence for gene flow with other archaic hominins. Modern individuals bear the signatures of recent positive selection encompassing the FADS (fatty acid desaturase) gene cluster, likely related to diet, and polygenic selection acting on standing variation that contributed to their short-stature phenotype. Thus, multiple independent instances of hominin insular dwarfism occurred on Flores.

Source: Evolutionary history and adaptation of a human pygmy population of Flores Island, Indonesia | Science, 03 August 2018

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