Late Middle Pleistocene Levallois stone-tool technology in southwest China

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Hu et al, 2018. Nature

via Nature, 19 November 2018:

Hu et al, 2018. Nature

Hu et al, 2018. Nature

Levallois approaches are one of the best known variants of prepared-core technologies, and are an important hallmark of stone technologies developed around 300,000 years ago in Africa and west Eurasia1,2. Existing archaeological evidence suggests that the stone technology of east Asian hominins lacked a Levallois component during the late Middle Pleistocene epoch and it is not until the Late Pleistocene (around 40,000–30,000 years ago) that this technology spread into east Asia in association with a dispersal of modern humans. Here we present evidence of Levallois technology from the lithic assemblage of the Guanyindong Cave site in southwest China, dated to approximately 170,000–80,000 years ago. To our knowledge, this is the earliest evidence of Levallois technology in east Asia. Our findings thus challenge the existing model of the origin and spread of Levallois technologies in east Asia and its links to a Late Pleistocene dispersal of modern humans.

Source: Late Middle Pleistocene Levallois stone-tool technology in southwest China | Nature

Stone tools push the human occupation of Sulawesi back by 60,000 years

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Stone tools dating to 118,000 years from Sulawesi. Source: ABC News 20160114

The discovery of stone tools from Sulawesi date to 118,000 years ago – possibly by the so-called hobbits – predate what is thought to be the earliest arrival of humans into Southeast Asia 50,000 – 60,000 years ago.

Stone tools dating to 118,000 years from Sulawesi. Source: ABC News 20160114

Stone tools dating to 118,000 years from Sulawesi. Source: ABC News 20160114

Earliest hominin occupation of Sulawesi, Indonesia
Gerrit D. van den Bergh, Bo Li, Adam Brumm, Rainer Grün, Dida Yurnaldi, Mark W. Moore, Iwan Kurniawan, Ruly Setiawan, Fachroel Aziz, Richard G. Roberts, Suyono, Michael Storey, Erick Setiabudi & Michael J. Morwood
Nature, doi:10.1038/nature16448

A group of mysterious humans left these tools in Indonesia over 118,000 years ago
Ars Technica, 15 January 2016

Stone tools found on Sulawesi in Indonesia ‘made by ancient humans at least 118,000 years ago
ABC News, 14 January 2016

‘Hobbit’ gets a neighbor: Stone tools hint at archaic human presence
CS Monitor, 14 January 2016

Ancient tools show how mysterious ‘Hobbit’ occupied Indonesian island
Reuters, via Ottowa Sun, 13 January 2016

Sulawesi is the largest and oldest island within Wallacea, a vast zone of oceanic islands separating continental Asia from the Pleistocene landmass of Australia and Papua (Sahul). By one million years ago an unknown hominin lineage had colonized Flores immediately to the south1, and by about 50 thousand years ago, modern humans (Homo sapiens) had crossed to Sahul2, 3. On the basis of position, oceanic currents and biogeographical context, Sulawesi probably played a pivotal part in these dispersals4. Uranium-series dating of speleothem deposits associated with rock art in the limestone karst region of Maros in southwest Sulawesi has revealed that humans were living on the island at least 40 thousand years ago (ref. 5). Here we report new excavations at Talepu in the Walanae Basin northeast of Maros, where in situ stone artefacts associated with fossil remains of megafauna (Bubalus sp., Stegodon and Celebochoerus) have been recovered from stratified deposits that accumulated from before 200 thousand years ago until about 100 thousand years ago. Our findings suggest that Sulawesi, like Flores, was host to a long-established population of archaic hominins, the ancestral origins and taxonomic status of which remain elusive.

Article can be found here.

Angkor aerial survey also has serious nature conservation potential

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Archaeologist Damian Evans at Beng Melea. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150428

Along with second Lidar survey of Angkor, the data obtained from aerial mapping of the areas promises to be a boon for future nature conservation works, particularly with forest cover and endangered tree species tracking.

Archaeologist Damian Evans at Beng Melea. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150428

Archaeologist Damian Evans at Beng Melea. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150428

Mapping tech holds promise
Phnom Penh Post, 28 April 2015

Aerial mapping techniques used to produce two new studies into forest canopies around the Angkor temple complex could provide a major boost to future conservation efforts in Cambodia and other tropical countries.

The first of the studies combined very high resolution (VHR) imagery with plant field data, while the second combined VHR imagery with images taken from Google Earth to produce detailed maps of the tree species in the Angkor Thom complex.

According to the studies’ authors, the methods could be used to monitor the presence of endangered or protected tree species, as well as to produce accurate estimations of the quantity of timber present in forests – data essential to implementing incentive-based conservation schemes such as the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program.

“In a few hours of flying, we can collect data over hundreds of square kilometres that would take decades to acquire on the ground,” said Dr Damian Evans, one of the reports’ authors.”>

Full story here.

More on the hobbit foots and hippo skulls

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Two papers published in nature last week lended more credence to the theory that the Indonesian Hobbit, homo floresiensis, is a separate species (for the reports of the two studies, read here). Here are some more news reports, videos and podcasts that have featured the latest hobbit studies.



Small Brain Of Dwarf ‘Hobbit’ Explained By Hippo’s Island Life

Science Daily, 08 May 2009

Science Friday Podcast: The Hobbit debate

Science Friday, 08 May 2009

“Hobbits” Not Good Runners; Proof of New Human Species?

National Geographic, 08 May 2009

Hippo’s island life helps explain dwarf hobbit (w/Video)
Physorg.com, 07 May 2009

Nature podcast: Mini Hippos and Mini Men
Nature, 07 May 2009

Indonesian ‘hobbit’ confirmed to be a new species

The Telegraph, 07 May 2009

Hobbits May Belong on New Branch of Our Family Tree
Wired Science, 06 May 2009

More evidence to point that the Hobbit is a new species

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The news is abuzz today as two papers published in this week’s Nature lend support to the theory that the Hobbit represents a new species. One study of the Hobbit’s foot reveals that while the hobbit was bipedal, it did not walk like humans and probably could not run very well. Another study compared the rate of dwarfism among an extinct species of hippos in Madagascar with those of the mainland, with special attention to brain size and found that it is possible for dwarf populations to evolve smaller brains, which means the same principle could be applied to the homo floresiensis. It should be noted though, the mainstream media’s hyping up the “Hobbit is a new species” tune. I certainly think the consensus is forming that way.

Insular dwarfism in hippos and a model for brain size reduction in Homo floresiensis
Nature, 07 May 2009

The foot of Homo floresiensis

Nature, 07 May 2009

Hobbits ‘are a separate species’
BBC, 06 May 2009

New analysis shows ‘hobbits’ couldn’t hustle
Physorg.com, 06 May 2009

Hobbit foot, hippo skulls deepen ancestral mystery
Science News, 06 May 2009

‘Hobbits’ Couldn’t Hustle: Feet Of Homo Floresiensis Were Primitive But Not Pathological
Science Daily, 06 May 2009

Ancient ‘hobbit’ humans new species after all
AFP, 06 May 2009
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